Exposed Fifths
classical music blog
June 26, 2006
Richter, Gieseking, et al
When this collection was first announced, it was touted as the Largest Compilation ever assembled for CD. 100 little pocket volumes, containing a disc in the front cover, and one in the back, divided by a sheaf of professionally written notes translated into three languages. Great Pianists of the Twentieth Century was an unprecedented collaboration between the major labels, drawing upon literally the entire history of phonologically recorded music - the earliest track is from 1912, Paderewksi playing Liszt's la campanella. All in all 72 pianists were selected for the title of Great, some of these receiving two volumes to celebrate their renown, and a handful getting three double discs, that's easily more than 6 hours of piano ecstasy.

Peter Gutmann, not to be confused with Robert Gutman, the biographer of Mozart and Wagner, has assembled some notes and thoughts on these volumes. They don't cover the entire complete boxed set release, but give you a through sampling of the riches that were amassed. It truly is one of the great Projects undertaken in recorded music, and these notes serve as a faithful guide. Thank you Peter! Here.