5.0 out of 5 Stars
By Wade Cottingham
For a certain audience this is worth ten or twenty stars.
It's a gorgeously done project. The CD was shipped from France to me in Texas, did not take too long.
The amount of work it took to learn the Keith Jarrett piece is so beyond anything I will ever do. A labor of love, with a great, intelligent interview printed in the CD booklet. Mr. Olsen explains he would like to help usher Keith Jarrett's epic improvisations into the universal repertoire of piano music.
The coupling with the Liszt B minor Sonata totally works.
I am a huge fan of this recording, a gorgeous listening experience.
Quite beautiful. This recording artist appreciates beauty to a very very high degree and is able to communicate it. I hope this recording gets the distribution it deserves.
Think how long it took for someone other than Keith Jarrett to record Keith Jarrett's 1981 Bregenz piece. Thirty three years! So, if this CD doesn't catch fire right away, I guess Mr. Olsen's goal of wider playing of KJ pieces by other pianists may still take another decade or so...
Quick note on the piano sound: it's close, it's a pianist's perspective, pretty close up and dry as in not much room sound or reverb. His pedalling is on the discrete side. These are all very good things for hearing what's there. And the dynamic range is wonderful and the piano sound is wonderful and the instrument is wonderful. The super-clean tuning of the piano is wonderful.
On the interpretation: This pianist really admires beauty. So, from the listener (me): many thanks to the artist for this very very beautiful, clean, intelligent, large-scale recording. Thank you.
On the comparison between KJ's performance and Mr. Olsen's performance: They are not identical of course. Mr. Olsen's performance is 'perfect', 'heroic', 'beautiful', 'gorgeous'. Keith Jarrett's rhythmic feel in the most rhythmic sections is a little more that of a drummer, a preacher, a groover. But overall, Mr. Olsen plays it wonderfully. He brought this piece into the same arena as the Liszt B Minor Sonata, which he plays beautifully.
Quick note on the performance of the Liszt B minor Sonata: I have a dozen recordings of it, and I have my favorites. But instead of comparing, I'll just state that Mr. Olsen has the credentials and artistry to perform it in a way that SHOULD transport me. And it DOES transport me. I am grateful for the work he put into understanding this piece, and his delivery of it. Grateful! A wonderful listening experience!
Fine print on this review: It's intended to be helpful to those who might want to hear this recording...if it proves unhelpful without commentary, I'll make it disappear without any hard feelings!
December 2013, Amazon.com
A NEW HEARING FOR JARRETT MUSIC
Vic Olsen tries to work out the structure of this “composition” and so doing he is able to show something new. It evokes a new hearing. He is the first showing a creative way, how to transfer Jarrett's music into the future, a way to keep it vivid by replaying it.
"Just by replaying the music, you eliminate the “happening” status inherent in an event like a concert. It becomes a work in its own right." (quoted from Vic Olsen interview)
This is the opposite way of many others, trying to copy the “happening status”. I could never understand, why people try to imitate an entire part. Of course it´s ok as a private thing, its a way to have fun. But there´s no need to edit. If people edit such copies (even on Youtube), they want to impress. Music does not need duplications.
January 2014, Keith Jarrett Yahoo Group
TWO FANTASTIC WORKS, IMPRESSIVELY INTERPRETED
5.0 out of 5 Stars
By Benno von Archimboldi
It took over 30 years for a new performance of Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert to come out on CD (due to the Master’s years of refusal to agree to a transcription), and the Bregenz Concert has taken even longer. But unlike Tomasz Trzcinski’s slightly wooden Köln Concert, Vic Olsen’s new rendition of both parts of the May 1981 Bregenz Concert is a stunning success. I had never heard of this pianist before—or of the CVM label, for that matter—but this CD, which pairs the Bregenz Concert with the Piano Sonata in B Minor by Franz Liszt, combines first-rate sound quality with two truly spectacular performances. In his version of Bregenz, Olsen achieves the utmost precision as he weaves the jazzy passages of this initially improvised work into the more classical-sounding ones, and in both the softer, mellower sections and the powerful moments, he even manages to outshine the original.
This is obviously not to disparage Keith Jarrett’s incredible act of creation, in which the music comes “out of nothing” (as he himself has stressed many times) (...) From the 1970s to the mid-1990s in particular, Jarrett often performed two-part sets made up of such “instant compositions,” many of them timelessly great.
For me, the Bregenz Concert—alongside the 1976 Sun Bear Concerts in Japan and the 1991 Vienna Concert—has always topped the list of his most outstanding concert albums. That a virtually unknown but obviously very gifted pianist now offers such an excellent rendition of this work, putting it on par with Liszt’s famous romantic sonata, further heightens the value of Bregenz. Although Olsen’s recording doesn’t include the “Untitled” und “Heartland” encores (both of which clearly enhanced the Jarrett album), the two main sections, totaling 34 minutes, display such beautiful harmony that you can’t help feeling overwhelmed by the greatness of both composer and performer. In a year with multiple re-issues of earlier Keith Jarrett recordings, ranging from excellent (the Bach Sonatas with violinist Michelle Makarski) to very good (the trio CD Somewhere) to middling (the complete Hymns/Spheres and No End), this Vic Olsen CD stands out from the crowd. You have to wonder whether it’s a coincidence that—in addition to the recording by Olsen—Fall 2013 has seen a re-issue of the Bregenz Concert by Jarrett, now available for the first time on CD and paired with a recording of a Munich performance in early June 1981, as in the original 3LP box set.
November 2013, Amazon.de
5.0 out of 5 stars
By Michel Rochon
Very few pianists are interested to play and record improvisations made by other pianists. And the fact that improvisational pianists are a rare bread to start with, makes this record unique. The quality of the production is spotless. The unknown Vic Olsen understood the essence of this rare moment when Keith Jarrett had tihs epiphany in a concert hall in Bregenz, May 28th, 1981. The organic structure of the improvisation is played here like a composition, with unity and structure. All of Jarrett's powerful thrust is present but with Olsen's own vision added, like a real pianist does with a classical work. I hope it will inspire other pianists to undertake the task of writing down the great improvisations of the Master, may it be Osaka, Tokyo, Paris, La Scala.... The Franz Liszt sonata in B minor makes for a great comparison. This work has been recorded by so many great pianists. Olson does a nice job, but sometimes lacks the unity of thought and structure that he has with Jarrett. But all in all, a must for all fans of intelligent and powerful piano music. All the best for his next recording !
April 2014, Amazon.de
A GREAT SUCCESS !
5.0 out of 5 stars
Although Vic Olsen seems to appear from nowhere, his pianistic artistry and performance are absolutely beautiful and worthy of the greatest performers of our time.
Meet Keith Jarrett and Franz Liszt on the same album may seem surprising at first, however the bold choice of Vic Olsen is extremely convincing. The two works are linked perfectly, I would even say they rise one and the other.
In addition, the great sound quality of this recording reveals every detail and literally carries you inside the heart of the music. Audiophiles will find a new reference, this is a great success.
This Compact Disk is just masterful, I highly recommend it !
I just ordered two more as gifts for loved ones...
December 2013, Amazon.fr
SURPRISING AND EXCELLENT
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent performance of these 2 masterpieces. Two of the greatest genius of their time.
Emotion and thrills are waiting for you.
An absolute must-have and must-listen to.
October 2013, Amazon.fr