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Grante’s seventh volume of the complete Godowsky might serve as an introduction to those unfamiliar with Godowsky’s idiom, including, as it does, six of his best-known transcriptions alongside some real rarities. Examples of his most intricate contrapuntal writing (the three paraphrases on themes by Johann Strauss II) share the disc with more literal transcriptions (Karl Bohm’s Still wie die Nacht, Richard Strauss’s Ständchen).

Some might think that Albéniz’s Triana was complex enough without further additions. Godowsky somehow manages to elaborate its textures without compromising its essential character, though this is a more fruitful exercise when applied to the same composer’s celebrated Tango. This Grante plays with a poetic refinement, as he does the exquisite Bohm, Kreisler and Saint-Saëns arrangements. What are sadly beyond him are the three big Strauss Symphonic Metamorphoses, which sound laboured and heavy-handed to a degree. David Saperton in Fledermaus and Künstlerleben, Cherkassky in Wein, Weib und Gesang, and Marc-André Hamelin in all three offer pianism of a completely different order.

Half the programme is played on a Steinway, half on a Bösendorfer in a different location. Music & Arts’ typography is wayward, as is its proofreading; Richard Strauss is uncredited; Grante, in his booklet, seems to think that Godowsky wrote nothing for Paul Wittgenstein: the paraphrase on themes from The Gypsy Baron for left hand alone was written for him. But M&A does, for once, and quite rightly, credit Godowsky as the unhyphenated composer of the Johann Strauss paraphrases.

JEREMY NICHOLAS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing