Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky, Phil Orch, Benno Moiseiwitsch|
Piano Concertos 1 & 2
Benno Moiseiwitsch's elegant style and plush, upholstered tone transformed even tired warhorses into pure magic. If the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1 isn't quite as magical as other Moiseiwitsch performances because it often ... more »
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Benno Moiseiwitsch's elegant style and plush, upholstered tone transformed even tired warhorses into pure magic. If the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1 isn't quite as magical as other Moiseiwitsch performances because it often lacks ideal forward momentum, it is a solid performance ennobled by a poetic slow movement of consummate artistry. Unlike the outstanding Pletnev recording of the Concerto No. 2, most older renditions use the cut Siloti edition, and this one even adds a few smaller cuts, but Moiseiwitsch's playing is at its peak here. The filler, the lovely Chanson Triste for solo piano, is a gem, with Moiseiwitsch giving a priceless lesson in keyboard poetry. Ward Marston's excellent transfers help make this a must for historical collectors. Fans of the stereo versions of No. 1 by Argerich, Cliburn, and others will find this disc a useful supplement, illustrating the older, but no less valid, approach of one of the master pianists of the past century. --Dan Davis
Quiet performances. Noisy recording. Ow, my ears...
Kimba W. Lion | the East Coast | 05/05/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The notes to this CD say that Moiseiwitsch's Tchaikovsky First was generally overlooked when first released and withdrawn quickly from the catalog. It's easy to understand why. This is a very subdued performance in a work that is not designed to be subdued.
Moiseiwitsch's recording of the Tchaikovsky Second was actually the first-ever recording of the work (1944). It's hard to believe that any work by Tchaikovsky would have had to wait six decades for a recording. What we have here is not as subdued as the recording of the First, but it doesn't plumb its depths, either. It feels very much like a first exposure to the work. Siloti's edition is used which, given the surface noise in this recording, is just as well--you're not going to hear a lot of subtleties.
When this CD's producer, Ward Marston, came to prominence, it was in the era of telephone-quality filterings and, worse, the gating filter (surely the work of the Devil), so Marston's approach was a godsend: no brute-force filtering, allowing the full music spectrum to be heard. He acheived noise reduction by such methods as choosing a stylus that properly matched the grooves of the records. However, in the CD notes Marston himself complains about how noisy these records were and somewhat apologetically says that he used only the de-crackling part of CEDAR during his transfer. Speaking as one who has collected 78s all his life, I find the noise on this CD unbearable--it actually made my ears hurt. It is as loud as the orchestra in full forte and virtually obliterates quieter passages. With the First, you have a subdued performance with aggressive background noise, a combination that is a chore to listen to. The slow movement of the Second is practically buried. I think it is time to admit that computerized noise reduction is a mature enough technology for talented people to use in the restoration of recordings from the 78-rpm era. In fact, I am going to apply my own noise-reduction tools to this CD, just so I can bear to listen to it."