A Magnificent Disc
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 10/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another great recording from BBC Music of piano music played by Shura Cherkassky. These are studio recordings and were not made in recital but the pieces selected represent a typical Cherkassky program. The CD started with Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith" played with elegance, and staying with things Handelian the next piece is Brahms Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24. The Brahms is magnificently played giving attention to the nuance and detail of each variation and the concluding fugue is masterful. In a typical about-face, the next piece is the Berg Piano Sonata; Shura Cherkassky plays the piece nicely conveying the brooding intensity of the music. The 15 Little Variations by Nikos Skalkottas follow in a similar mood as the Berg Sonata and each brief variation flows into the next as a unified work; the Prokofiev Toccata is exuberantly played.
The Chopin Sonata No. 3 is beautifully phrased; the Scherzo played with a beautiful lightness of touch and the slow movement is expressively played without being overly solemn. The finale is not as bombastic as some performers with Cherkassky preferring a more lyrical approach.
The recordings were made in 1963 with the Chopin in 1964. The recordings are mono but have been nicely transferred to CD but the Chopin lacks the clarity of the earlier recordings. If you are a fan of Shura Cherkassky you will want this disc.