Friday, April 20, 2012

Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1, Etc

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2008 - Orchestral Award Winner
CD Review - Critics Disc of the Year - December 2007

“This excellent disc, consisting of live performances from the 'Progetto Martha Aregerich' at the 2006 Lugano Festival, has a spontaneity and sheer pleasure in music-making one doesn’t often hear in Shostakovich.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2007 *****

“Recorded at the 2006 Lugano Festival, Argerich's virtuosity is breathtaking. There's also a vivid, dramatic performance of the Piano Quintet.” --Gramophone Magazine, November 2008

“Argerich's 1994 DG reading of the Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings is already a benchmark version among modern recordings, complementing the composer's own technically fallible yet still indispensable 1958 account. But now there is a more natural flow in the slow movement, some previously slightly forced rubati are smoother, and although the textures are a fraction more richly pedalled, as often needs to be the case for projection to a big audience rather than the microphone, there is no more than an infinitesimal loss of clarity.

So if anything Argerich's playing has the tiniest of edges even over her former self. More decisively, Sergei Nakariakov brings an extra dash of wit and soloistic presence to the trumpet part, not to mention an astonishing feat of (circular?) breathing in the slow movement. There is a fraction more flair from orchestra and conductor too, while the recording brings everything further forward, so that the electricity of the playing crackles around the room.

The two-piano Concertino is a little piece of high-quality Gebrauchsmusik for the then 16-year-old Maxim Shostakovich son to romp around with; Argerich and Zilberstein give it a wonderfully characterful rendition.

Much of the Piano Quintet also emerges as one has only always dreamt of hearing it – vivid from moment to moment, yet with a long musical line and dramatic overall conception. Occasionally the nervous energy of the playing is too much of a good thing, as in the tricky bridge from Intermezzo to finale – from darkest profundity to deceptive easy-going cheeriness – and as in the piano's first statement of the fugue theme in the second movement. So, recommend ed alongside the safer Ashkenazy/Fitzwilliam recording rather than above it. As for the disc as a whole: a sure-fire winner.” --Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

MP3 320 · 144 MB

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