Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dmitry Kabalevsky, Vassily Sinaisky, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra|
Kabalevsky: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3; Colas Breugnon Overture; The Comedians
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D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 06/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dmitri Kabalevsky has been considered a Soviet composer whose music was written with one eye over his shoulder to stay in the good graces of the Communist party; hence his music was a compromise to the taste of party officials and devoid of the irony that is typical of Shostakovish's music. However, this assessment is not atypical of his music. The second movement of Kabelevsky's Second Piano Concerto, for example, is a finely wrought funeral march and his music exhibits the influence of Rachmaninov, Ravel and Prokofiev. Kabalevsky was also among the composers named in the 1948 decree that denounced Western influence in Soviet music. This CD includes some of Kabalevsky's most popular music. It begins with the Overture to Colas Breugnon, an opera based on a novel by Romain Rolland. The story of the opera revolves around Breugnon, a Breton peasant, who thwarts a villainous Duke, thereby drawing parallels to the workers of the Soviet Union. Also on this disc is the Comedians suite, taken from the incidental music Kabalevsky wrote for a children's play called "The Inventor and the Comedians." The suite is an outstanding example of Kabalevsky's wonderful facility with melody and traditional music. The music of the Gallop is familiar from its use of the xylophone and its appearance as background music on television variety programs when someone is performing a feat of skill or coordination. The fame of the Gallop is certainly equal to Khataturian's Sabre Dance. The works of interest on this disc are the Second and Third Piano Concertos brilliantly played by Kathryn Stott. Seventeen years separate the concertos. The Second is a virtuoso work of about 24 minutes. The concerto beings with the piano stating the opening theme with the orchestra gradually joining in. The movement is strikingly like a Prokofiev concerto, witty and urbane in the dialogue between piano and orchestra. The demands on the performer are great, particularly in a difficult cadenza. The tragic tone of the center movement - a series of variations - is immediately clear in the muted tones of the orchestra and a plaintiff solo for oboe. The bleakness is somewhat relieved by a waltz-like variation but the tone of mourning is maintained throughout, a comment on the purges by Stalin that were going on in 1936. The movement is very like something Shostakovich would have written but Kabelevsky makes the movement his own. The final movement returns to the jaunty tone of the first movement. A passage with relentless percussion harkens back to the bleakness of the second movement briefly and the concerto ends on an upbeat note.
The Third Concerto was dedicated to Soviet youth and was first performed by a young Vladimir Ashkenazy. The concerto is written in a much simpler style, reflecting upon Shostakovish's Second Concerto and French music in its breezy style. The cheerfulness of the concerto is announced immediately by a short trumpet solo before the piano begins with a lyrical melody. One of the themes for the middle movement was drawn from a waltz theme written by one of Kabalevsky's children, and is presented as a charming second subject. The high spirits of this concerto make it immediately appealing and a work that will remain a pleasure to hear repeatedly.This is a CD that I liked from the first hearing and highly recommend it."
Kabalevesky is better than caffeine!
BookMan | Rancho Santa Margarita, CA | 12/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I'm somewhat familiar with Kabalevsky's music (who isn't?), I really haven't spent much time listening to it - which is the reason I decided to buy this recording - I wasn't disappointed! The performance by the BBC Philharmonic is very tight and energetic. I usually listen to this when I've got a lot of time and need a bit of energy - it's a great replacement for caffeine. That, however, shouldn't discount the great musicianship of the orchestra. I have no reservations, of any kind, recommended this CD to others."