DescriptionThe lives of the greats, both past and present, and a bewitching set of historic recordings. Most of us will at one time or another have encountered the compulsive “read” that won’t rest on the shelf until the last page has been turned. In the normal scheme of things one wouldn’t have expected even the most generous CD booklet to fall quite into that category but one that definitely does is Jonathan Summers’s superb “A-Z of Pianists” for Naxos. This is no ordinary CD annotation but a CD-size 861-page book boxed alongside a four-disc set of important and mostly rare historic piano recordings. As historical anthologies go, this has to be among the best-planned and the best-annotated. No piano buff worth the label can possibly afford to be without it. Rob Cowan, Gramophone. This is a unique and imaginative project: four CDs with a superb 863-page book (of the same shape) that ‘surveys the lives, careers and recordings of 300 pianists….from Argerich to Zadora.’ A detailed, well-researched essay on each pianist by author Jonathan Summers, given alphabetically, lists their most important recordings with a critical appraisal of his or her recorded legacy. Seventy-five artists from Chaminade (1901) to Petri (1951) are represented on disc in over five hours of music. Book and discs are outstanding achievements at every level and invaluable to anyone with the slightest interest in the piano. Jeremy Nicholas Classic FM Magazine. The book was featured on a 35 minute segment of BBC Radio 3’s CD Review where Andrew McGregor said: 'Given the brief, Summers has done a remarkably even-handed job. But that’s not all, I really didn’t think this would work as a set of discs I could sit down and enjoy playing for their own sake….the artists are in alphabetical order across the four CDs….but that is exactly what I was able to do. That in itself is a tribute to the care with which it’s been put together.' On his BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Show Rob Cowan played two tracks from the CDs and said, 'It really is a remarkable document.' Jonathan was asked by Naxos to continue his A-Z of Pianists on the web for which he has written biographies and selected recordings of 42 more pianists. Also for Naxos, Jonathan has written the notes for more than 75 CD releases in their series of Great Pianists and produced three discs of Russian pianist Emil Gilels and one of Paderewski.