Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor for Piano, Trumpet and Orchestra Op. 35; Concerto No. 2 in F Major for Piano and Orchestra Op. 102; Quintet in G minor for Piano and Strings Op. 57 - Yefim Bronfman (piano), Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka
This is a splendid recording, featuring three of Shostakovich's major works involving his own instrument, the piano. They display all the mercurial, contradictory aspects of his style, from dance-hall banality to sophistic... more »
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This is a splendid recording, featuring three of Shostakovich's major works involving his own instrument, the piano. They display all the mercurial, contradictory aspects of his style, from dance-hall banality to sophisticated counterpoint and inspired melodic inventiveness, from mournful desolation and bleak hopelessness to the wild, obsessive, sardonic humor of desperation. The two piano concertos, though written over 20 years apart, show a certain similarity in their melancholy slow movements and frantically rollicking Finales, though the first, more popular one, opens with a highly dramatic movement, the second with a relatively peaceful one. The recording brings together a Russian-born virtuoso pianist with a special affinity for the composer's style, a great quartet steeped in 20th-century music, and a first-rate orchestra. The resulting performances are brilliant, moving, and exciting; Bronfman's virtuosity is stunning and the solo trumpeter in the first concerto is terrific. The string playing is wonderful--rich and colorful in sound, rhythmically incisive, deeply expressive; the first violinist's tone soars radiantly in the many stratospheric passages. --Edith Eisler
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Fizzy and infectious in the concertos, uplifting in the Pian
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After dulling my senses listening to the two Shostakovich piano concertos in lackluster readings by Mihail Rudy and Mariss Jansons, I needed a tonic. This CD jumps out of the speakers with infectious joy. It's also in Sony's best 24-bit sound, and on that basis alone would rank among the veyr best. Bronfman and Salonen have decided to cut loose (something neither does that often), catching Shostakovich's witty side perfectly. The composer himself is even more unbuttoned in his classic EMI recording, but in inferior sound.
The major work here, however, is the Piano Quintet, a large-scale work in the affirmative mode of the Fifth Sym. Shostakovich seems to be parodying nothing here; although there are haunting moments, particularly the string canon in the first movement and the solo violin that opens the slow movement, the Quintet, rare for this composer, is not clouded by melanchily. The Scherzo is rollicking, the finale presents a dancing tune one could almost whistle, alternating with ghostly memories of the first movement. Sony captures the sound of Bronfman's piano and the Julliard Quartet with amazing depth and fidelity--I've never heard any chamber work recorded so brilliantly.
In all, this is Shostakovich at his most lovable--a very unlikely word applied to him--played with geniality and tremendously appealing sonics."
A delightful romp
John | Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | 04/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must say that the two piano concertos of Shostakovich are the most fun-filled of any I've heard in the genre. Not since the finale of Rossini's William Tell Overture have I heard a piece of music so wonderfully suited to bounce along to than the first movement of the 2nd concerto. The two concertos display a playful, humorous side of Shostakovich, the opposite of the bitter sarcasm of his masterful symphonies. Salonen and the LA Philharmonic play wonderfully, as does Stevens in the first concerto. Bronfman never misses a note and the Juilliard String Quartet's performance packs a wallop.The first piano concerto is one of the most original that I have ever heard. I particularily like the final movement with its wildl, gallopping melodies and hammering ostinato trumpet.The second piano concerto still remains my favorite on the CD; The wonderful first movement always entertains me as it picks up from a simple, happy little tune to the toe-tapping, mock-military march. The dark, menacing chords that follow lead to one of those thrilling Shostakovich passages that sweep in, carry you away and then drop you off, bewildered and breathless. The second movement is one of absolute, lyrical beauty, and as its final chords quietly fade away another simple little tune is picked up, which leads into the madness of the third movement.The Piano Quintet took me by surprise. I am not a big fan of chamber music, but the more I listen to this work the more subtleties I notice and the more I realize what a masterpiece it is. The scherzo is one of Shostakovich's best (and there are a lot in his works).So, if you've read this far, you can probably guess that I highly recommend this CD, it's spectacular to listen to, and kids certainly seem to like to bounce around to the 2nd concerto."
Buy it for the quintet!
J. Shapiro | Holland, OH United States | 01/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording falls under the unfortunate "almost there" category.
High marks for Bronfman, who plays with sparkle and fire throughout. Unfortunately, the orchestral treatment is not nearly as convincing.
After comparing this recording with an earlier Chandos disc featuring Maxim conducting and Dimitry Jr. as piano soloist(con. no. 1), I find the "in-the-family" reading in ways more compelling.
Truly, Bronfman brings out more color, and a livelier performance- more natural pianism. But the orchestral rendering here is noticeble subdued, further worsened by the prominent soloist level of the mix.
Lest we forget, Shost. played up the drama of the soloist(individual) vs. orchestra(powers that be) nature in his concertos. On the Chandos disc we are asked to consider this.
There, the real sarcasm and hints of things darker is easily apparent. A much more emotionally complex reading.
Here with Salonen, we miss out almost totally. It is much too "pretty", almost Mozartian.
Other faults worth mentioning-
dry recording sound throughout,
defensive posture in the liner notes. On the upside, the quintet is another story.
Here the balance between charm and passion is sucessful and convincing. A worthy antitode."