Search - Mikhail Glinka, Vladimir Rebikov, Dmitry Shostakovich :: Shura Cherkassky, Piano

Shura Cherkassky, Piano
Mikhail Glinka, Vladimir Rebikov, Dmitry Shostakovich
Shura Cherkassky, Piano
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1


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SHURA CHERKASSKY - 1940s treasure-trove resurrected! Alan Albes | London | 05/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Recorded for early Vox and the small Swedish Cupol labels in 1946 and 1949, these very rare Cherkassky recordings of mainly short encore style pieces and more substantial works by Liszt {four Hungarian Rhapsodies}, Chopin's Polonaise in A flat Op.53; the second and third movts of Tchaikovsky's Second piano concerto in G major {Hollywood Bowl SO /Stokowski} the latter, the earliest recording of Cherkassky ` caught `live' on the wing', are a treasure - trove of delights. Cherkassky {like Emil Gilels} played Tchaikovsky 2 in the truncated version by Ziloti but as the cuts mainly affect the {for Tchaikovsky} melodically uninspired and meandering middle section of the `Andante' it is no great loss - especially as Cherkassky is imaginative and unique in the solo part. In 1946 this work that Cherkassky made very much his own,{ especially after his famous recording of both the first and second concertos for DG in 1956}, was a rarity! A great pity that on this occasion the big first movement with its thrilling cadenza {which probably influenced the composition of the cadenzas of Rachmaninoff's third and Prokofiev's second concertos} wasn't played. I heard Cherkassky give many magnificent performances of Liszt - the Sonata in B minor, First concerto, the Hungarian Rhapsody No:12 ; here he plays No:5, a funeral march and lament which builds to a very impassioned climax; No:6 in which the middle section has the requisite improvisational feeling { although the `friskas' final onslaught of octaves doesn't quite match the demonic virtuosity of Cziffra or Argerich}; No:11 with its cimbalom effects and brilliant finger work and No:15 {Rakoczy March} in which Cherkassky relishes the glissandi. He also plays his only recording of Gnomenreigen; although it is not as fast as the famous recordings by Barere {on APR} or Cziffra, the performance is alive with capricious and imaginative ideas. Cherkassky invariably ended his mammoth recitals with a bouquet of delightful encores. This selection of wonderful ` bon bons' includes pieces that Cherkassky either never essayed or recorded again! There is a lively `Tarantelle' by the father of Russian music Glinka; other Russian music{ in which Cherkassky excelled } includes Tchaikovsky's melancholy `October' form `The Months'; a hauntingly played Scriabin Prelude for left hand; Rebikov's wistfully charming `The Christmas Tree'; two characterfully played Preludes by Shostakovich; a slightly cut but brilliant Toccata by Khachaturian; a performance of Liadov's `Musical Snuff Box' - the gradual winding down of the clockwork imaginatively captured. There is also Medtner's Fairy Tale in E minor and a splendid non-metallic sounding Prokofiev ` Suggestion diabolique' played with great character virtuosity. Cherkassky played Gould's `Boogie -Woogie Etude' as one of his rapturously received encores at his 80th Birthday Recital in Carnegie Hall in 1991; here in 1949 he sounds even more effortless and obviously enjoying himself hugely in Gould's `Prelude and Toccata' dashed off with great style and elan as is Poulenc's dazzling Toccata. Although the recorded sound for the Tchaikovsky concerto is poor, the transfers of the solo items by Seth. B. Winner are exemplary. A must then for Cherkassky's many admirers and an ideal gift for all those listeners longing for a return to more characterful and stylish piano playing."