F. LISZT, Hungarian Fantasy, Rhapsody Espagnole, De Profundis, Totentanz (Naxos 8.573866, 01/2021)
Goran Filipec / Imre Kollár / Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra
Franz Liszt had an overwhelming impact on the musical life of his time through revolutionary innovations in harmony, form and pianistic technique. Both Liszt and his brilliant musical heir Ferruccio Busoni regarded their compositions as living entities, always suitable for recycling and reshaping to create new works. This programme is an illustration of this practice, with Goran Filipec freely extending and varying the cadenzas in the Hungarian Fantasy, while Busoni enhances the emotional states of horror, grotesque comedy and sublime serenity in the Totentanz.
B. Bersa, Complete Piano Music II, (GP 832, 05/2020)
As with the first volume in this series (GP767), Blagoje Bersa’s piano works are organised according to their character and tonality rather than chronologically. They include elements of transcription drawing on Mozart and Beethoven but also characterful barcarolles that evoke Italian music, a taut and witty Bizarre Serenade, a simple but affecting Mélancolie, and an invitation to a Viennese ballroom in the Valzer, Op. 3.
" Filipec is an exciting player who errs on the side of flamboyance and I love how these works come alive under his hands..."
- Rob Challinor, MusicWeb International, July 2020
" Critically acclaimed for his first Bersa volume in 2018, the Croatian pianist, Goran Filipec, gives the impression that he is freely shaping each work, and that Bersa now owes a great deal to him. "
- David’s Review Corner, 2020
F. Liszt, Complete Piano Music vol. 51: Poems (Naxos 8.573794, 09/2018)
Liszt believed that his instrument can reproduce not only orchestral or vocal effects, but also that it can serve for putting into music his own impressions of others works of art. The 51st volume of composer's Complete Piano Music features musical poems written after Bürger, Dante, Lenau Lamartine and Raphael.
"...The performances of the Croatian pianist Goran Filipec, who has already contributed two volumes to the Naxos Liszt series, are nothing short of superb. A seasoned and perceptive Liszt player, Filipec commands vast technical resources and a shimmering, beautifully expressive sound. His idiomatic grasp is such that, if we didn’t have the final versions of these works, Filipec’s take on the earlier drafts would go a long way towards compensation. With its blend of unusual yet recognisable repertory and first-class pianism, this is a release you won’t want to miss. "
- Patrick Rucker, Gramophone, December 2018
J. Braga Santos, Piano Concerto / Symphonic Overtures Nos. 1 and 2 (Naxos 8.573903, 09/2018)
Joly Braga Santos was Portugal’s greatest orchestral composer, and this recording presents eight world premiere recordings including his very first work for orchestra, the Symphonic Overture No. 1. This and the Symphonic Overture No. 2 share a unified structure and lyrical themes, contrasting with the sombre Prelude, originally written for an intensely tragic opera. Braga Santos’s characterful four ‘miniatures’ (tracks 4–7) are brought together to form an attractive suite, while his only Piano Concerto is a virtuoso spectacle with a large part for percussion and a gloriously anarchic approach to timbre and tonality.
"...This performance, with pianist Goran Filipec the intrepid soloist, is probably as fine as we’re going to get for quite a while, and with Álvaro Cassuto on the podium we know that the music is in capable hands. This is a terrific disc full of wide-ranging music. Do try it. "
- David Hurwitz, Classics Today, May 2019
F. Liszt, Complete Piano Music vol. 49: Dances (Naxos 8.573705, 04/2018)
The present album, featuring a variety of Liszt's Dances (several Waltzes, a Mazurka, a Polka, two Csardases etc.), illustrates brilliantly the stylistic evolution of the author. If the Grand galop chromatique, composed in 1838, written to display bravura, belongs to composer's virtuoso years, the Valses oubliées, dating from 1881 are marked by Liszt's later style.
"...There are many great Liszt interpreters on record, and, to name a few, one could cite Brendel, Arrau, Lazar Berman (especially in his earlier years), Craig Sheppard (now somewhat forgotten) and maybe one could add Argerich, though she has played comparatively little Liszt. Also, there are many notable young pianists vying for elbow room among Lisztians, including Aleksandra Mikulska whose very splendid Liszt CD… One could now also make a strong case for Goran Filipec, clearly a talent to watch, perhaps not only in this repertory, but other keyboard fare as well. "
- Robert Cummings, MusicWeb International, October 2018
Paganini at the Piano: Variations and Arrangements of F. Busoni, I. Friedman, M. Hambourg, B. Papandopulo and M. Zadora (GP 786, 03/2018)
In the years between 1902 and 1914 some of the world’s greatest pianists published a series of works that explored the lyricism and virtuosity of Paganini’s Caprices. Busoni was the greatest figure among them, but he considered Mark Hambourg to be the greatest pianistic talent of his generation. Both Michael Zadora and Ignaz Friedman carried out inventive free transcriptions while years later the Croatian Boris Papandopulo infused the pungent flavours of mid-20th-century idioms into the genre.
"...The longer one hears the recording, the more one moves away from initial skepticism to enthusiasm… The whole of the 19th century is represented in these arrangements, and Filipec presents them to us as if on a silver plate: glittering, fiery and powerful in sound—simply brilliant. "
- Piano News, September 2018
B. Bersa, Complete Piano Music I, (GP 767, 01/2018)
In his orchestral music, Croatian composer Blagoje Bersa absorbed stylistic traits from contemporaries such as Strauss and Mahler, but his piano music reveals a rich diversity drawn from Classical models. His art encompasses charming Chopinesque barcarolles, a melancholic Notturno, a stirring Liszt-inspired Fantaisie-Impromptu, beautiful balletic miniatures and the Brahmsian grandeur of the powerfully conceived Sonata No. 2 in F minor.
"…Goran Filipec’s performances… basically left me stunned and speechless from the first notes, and I’m still recovering! This pianist commands a transcendental technique and possesses an unflappable sonority that refuses to splinter, notwithstanding Bersa’s thickest onslaughts. He unleashes shattering fortissimos that never lapse into banging and conveys the kind of textural diversity needed to bring this composer’s demanding keyboard idiom to life. I cannot recommend this release highly enough and, needless to say, I look forward to Vol 2. "
- Jed Distler, Gramophone, March 2018
D, Scarlatti, Complete Keyboard Sonatas vol. 19 , (Naxos 8.573590, 06/2017)
Alessandro Scarlatti was largely responsible for developing early Neapolitan opera but his son Domenico journeyed to Lisbon and then to Madrid where he entered the service of the royal family. It was primarily for the Infanta Maria Barbara, who became Queen of Spain in 1746, that Domenico Scarlatti wrote his celebrated single-movement sonatas, some of the greatest pieces in eighteenth-century keyboard repertoire. This volume reveals Scarlatti’s evocations of Spanish dance rhythms, vivid exploration of colour, scintillating scales and arpeggios and striking echo effects.
"...Con una articulación variada, interpretando las líneas melódicas de manera sutil, ya sean en legato, separadas o en staccato, incluso con leves alteraciones del tiempo, consigue hacer un entretenido y brillante juego, sin caer en la frecuente monotonía con que se suelen traducir estas Sonatas.... entre los mejores Scarlatti de las nuevas generaciones."
- José Luis Arévalo, Ritmo, January 2018
F. Liszt, Complete Piano Music vol. 42: Paganini studies (Naxos 8.573458, 03/2016)
We can say without exaggeration that Liszt was the only true successor of the stunning virtuosity of Paganini’s violin, who left no relevant heirs in the domain of his own instrument. Liszt heard Paganini playing in 1832 in Paris and was deeply impressed by his performing style, built upon polyphonic and orchestral concepts and textures (on four cords!), new techniques of execution and an unpreceded exploitation of the timbrical resources of the instrument.
"...The playing throughout these very difficult pieces is top notch; I cannot fault Mr. Filipec’s virtuosity or musical feeling at any point... I have listened to this disc many times and I have to say that Goran Filipec is a superb artist and I look forward to hearing more of his recordings in the near future. He is clearly a pianist to listen (or possibly Liszten!) out for. "
- Jonathan Welsh, MusicWebInternational, June 2016
Grand Prix du Disque
B. Bersa, Complete Piano Music I, (GP 767, 01/2018)
Ivo Maček occupied a significant place in 20th-century Yugoslavian musical life as a pianist and educator. The Intermezzo is among his most poetic early miniatures, the expressively wide-ranging Theme and Variations one of his most inventive pieces. His 1985 Sonata is the most elaborate and imposing of his solo piano works while the 1980 Violin Sonata typifies the increasing sophistication and poise of his later style.
"…The composer is given the honor he deserves through the absolutely brilliant playing of Goran Filipec. With the help of a superb instrument the pianist exhibits an expansive imagination, a wide spectrum of tone, and an opulent temperament. [Silvia Mazzon] displays the same virtues and has an especially expressive sound in the middle register. "
- Raymond Beegle, Fanfare, May 2015
Resonances of Liszt's Anniversary (GF 001, 12/2011)
Liszt's bicentenary in 2011 was the occasion for numerous music productions around the globe. This limited double CD edition was released for that same occasion as pianist's personal hommage to the composer., It features staples of piano repertoire such as Sonata in B minor, Mephisto valse, Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata and opera paraphrases, polonaises and Hungarian rhapsodies, one pair of each.
"…The artistry of this superb artist still has me in shock. This is some of the best Liszt playing I have ever heard on records. This one is available from CD Baby. Goran Filipec has produced this album, which appears on the label Goran Filipec Productions [GF 001]. It was recorded at the Fazioli Concert Hall in 2011 using a magnificent Fazioli concert grand piano. . "
- ClassicalMusicGuide.com, 2018