P1254. HORACIO GUTIÉRREZ: 24 Préludes, Op.28 (Chopin); Fantasie, Op.17 (Schumann). Bridge 9479, recorded 2015, American Academy Of Arts And Letters, New York. [Since our previous Bridge titles are now at half-price, we offer this new one as well at discount.] 090404947926
“Alfred Cortot, [was] the first pianist to release a recording back in 1926 of the complete set of the 24 Préludes, Op. 28 by Frédéric Chopin. Don't get fooled by the relative brevity and size (a handful of them only run for 30 seconds or so) of these works. They are bursts of profound creativity composed during a particularly bad winter when Chopin's health was on the decline, but most of them are more substantial and more emotionally stimulating than much longer efforts by other lesser composers.
The Cuban-American pianist Horacio Gutiérrez records rather rarely, with this Bridge Records recording being his first solo piano release in many, many years. Some of you may remember him from his great concerto recordings on the Telarc label, back when that label was a major player in the classical music world. His technique is so strong, that he doesn't need to sacrifice speed for detailed clarity and melodic emphasis (#8 in f-sharp minor for example). And he always seems to bring out the emotive core of each slow piece without having to slow tempos down to a torpor, a bad habit favored by too many pianists these days. His playing is always focused on the inner workings and highly harmonic logic of Chopin, which naturally projects the music's exposed soul. There's no need to exaggerate Chopin, the passion is inherent to the music. Something Gutiérrez obviously understands and carries over to the keyboard.…the Fantasie, Op. 17 by Robert Schumann is certainly more than just ‘filler’. It is, in its own way, the struggle of an artist coming to terms with life through musical expression. But whereas Chopin saw the keyboard as a large, blank and open canvas to paint on, Schumann always seemed inhibited by it.”
Jean-Yves Duperron, classicalmusicsentinel.com, Nov., 2016
“The Cuban-American virtuoso Horacio Gutiérrez is a legendary figure in the piano world. After taking the Silver Medal at the 1970 Tchaikovsky International Competition, Gutiérrez embarked on an international touring career that saw performances with nearly all of the world's great orchestras and conductors including Maazel, Rostropovich, Masur, Levine, Rozhdestvensky, Ormandy, Gergiev, Ozawa, Previn, Leinsdorf, Tennstedt, Ashkenazy, Barenboim and numerous others. Gutiérrez has recorded very infrequently, and these new recordings reveal a great poet-virtuoso at the height of his musical powers.”
- Z. D. Akron