Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Modest Mussorgsky, Sergey Rachmaninov, Anatol Lyadov|
One of the most vitally played recordings I own...
I Hate Amazon | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording by Berezovsky is arguably his very best, which is saying something. As the First Prize winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition of 1990, his talent is a given, but sometimes he seems to breeze through pieces without the kind of fire that is a trademark of Russian pianists--in particular his recording of the Liszt Transcendental Etudes, while technically solid, lacks the kind of oomph and pizazz that befits the composer and the music.The music in this program, however, seems to ignite Berezovsky's passions, perhaps since the composers are all fellow Russians. The Night on Bare Mountain has the kind of epic scope, if not the length, of the Liszt B Minor Sonata, and Berezovsky does full justice to the little tinkering trills as well as the quadruple forte chord passages, both tender and merciless at a whim. In his playing on some other discs it sometimes seems as if Berezovsky has a "soft" left hand, that is, that he cannot generate the kind of bass that, say Richter or Gilels managed regularly. Here we find that it is within his grasp to conjure some real thunder--although it is still fairly clear that his right hand is much stronger than his left.What makes this a particularly attractive buy is the inclusion of the relatively rare Liadov and Medtner pieces, lively and evocative shorts which are played with such conviction that one wonders why these composers aren't more popular. Apparently, Berezovsky has a particular interest in Medtner--according to liner notes, he organized a festival of Medtner's piano music in Moscow, 1995.The final encore piece, Balakirev's Islamey, is notoriously difficult, and I have heard no one play it better, or for that matter as well as Berezovsky (this includes Pogorelich and Bronfman). It has been a specialty of his since he was at least sixteen, and having completely mastered the technical aspects he is free to concentrate on expression. In fact, when I hear him play this piece I am never aware of technique or get any sense of effort,which would distract from my appreciation of the music. All in all, a disc with no weak spots. Highly recommended. It's a pity that some of this pianist's best recordings are out-of-print or scarce. If you can find them, I also recommend his recording of Ravel's piano music as well as his disc of the Rachmaninoff 3rd concerto and selected preludes--there is a budget re-issue of the concerto, but it is coupled with a recording of the 2nd with a different pianist and doesn't include the preludes...oh, and FYI, in his Rach 3 he plays the version with the heavy chordal solo section in the first movement."
I Hate Amazon | 02/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Berezovsky simultaneously shows off his astounding talent and moves listeners with his sheer brilliance and performance. Pay special attention to Mily Balakirev's Islamey. I promise you, you will not fail to gasp at the touching interpretation and virtuoso in which Balakirev plays."
Gripping music and monumental interpretations
Hexameron | 03/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boris Berezovsky is truly a great artist. In addition to being a robust virtuoso, he has a great knack for plunging the depths of these pieces and expressing more than the composer even had in mind. Those who are familiar with Berezovsky's Liszt TE renditions, which left me disappointed myself, I must implore you to forget his failures there and witness the milestone he has recorded here. Look at the line up: Mussorgsky-Tchernov's Night on Bald Mountain, the most colossal of Rachmaninov's Op. 39, some rarities from Liadov and Medtner, and as a marvelous finale, the indefatigable Islamey fantasy.
Tchernov's transcription of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain is one of the most satisfying piano arrangements I've heard in a long time. The piano is completely indomitable here, leaving the orchestral version behind. Berezovsky's wicked fingers accomplish unbelievable feats: he evokes the sinister shades of tone, the eerie tremolos and still achieves technical perfection in the fiendish virtuoso passagework. His passion is only matched by his pianistic tactic of drawing as much power and sonority from the piano as possible. The most tragic revelation on this disc is that Berezovsky didn't record Rachmaninov's entire Etudes-Tableaux. I believe he has produced the greatest interpretations of these pieces. That Russian fervor, melancholy and wild abandon is completely in him. Each Etude-Tableaux is treated with the utmost degree of musical feeling. Consider these his glorious testaments: his tempo and ignited passions in No. 3; his muscular and dynamic rendition of No. 9; his procurement of the pathos in No. 7, and the clarity of the labyrinthine No. 4. Ashkenazy and Shelley are somehow lackluster after hearing these full-blooded executions from Berezovsky.
Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914) was a new discovery for me. I hadn't heard any of his music before this and I'm quite impressed. From the fragile Chopinesque beauty of the Moderato and Allegretto, to the rousing Lisztian flare of the Allegro impetuoso, what a sensational trio of gems this is. Not only is this music quite engaging, but Berezovsky showcases a flexibility in mood and a skill with pianissimo nuance that wasn't able to show its face until now. Continuing on, the Medtner pieces featured here are masterful miniatures of complexity and gorgeous melody. I'm not that familiar with Medtner at all, so it was a delightful surprise once I heard these fascinatingly original works. I'm sure Berezovsky is in his prime here, even though I haven't other interpretations for comparison. He manages a crisp articulation and tasteful bravura in the Allegro cantabile and Allegro con expressione. In the Allegretto tenebroso, he establishes a meticulous conception and technically superb delivery, making for a mind-blowing expedition of music.
Lastly, Berezovsky tackles Balakirev's Islamey fantasy, one of those war-horses that is either overplayed to the point of dense cacophony, or is underplayed by a pianist incapable or afraid of flinging himself through the demanding sections. Berezovsky easily accepts the virtuosic challenge while striving also to evince the passionate music that is sometimes buried beneath the swirls of notes.
Bottom line: This is a precious recording with both old war-horses played to perfection and new gems illustrated with the utmost musicality. Berezovsky's inexhaustible virtuosity and potency of phrasing has to be heard to be believed. Unfortunately, Amazon no longer sells this, so I would recommend getting it used while it's still available."