Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Shostakovich, Vsevolod Zaderatsky: Preludes
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The Real Find Here: Zaderatsky's Preludes
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shostakovich's 24 Preludes for Piano, Op. 34, have been recorded a number of times before. They are not to be confused with the better-known Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, but are a set of neoclassic and generally light-hearted miniatures. I've liked the recording by Konstantin Scherbakov Shostakovich: Piano Sonata No. 1; 24 Preludes and find this recording by Russo-German pianist Jascha Nemtsov its equal.
The real find here are the 24 Preludes in all the major and minor keys written by the all-but-unknown Soviet composer Vsevelod Zaderatsky (1891-1953). This is their first recording. They were written in 1934, a year after Shostakovich premiered his set of preludes in Moscow. It is not known if he heard that performance but he was living in Moscow at that time. Zaderatsky also wrote a set of 24 Preludes and Fugues in all the major and minor in the late 1930s while he was in one of Stalin's forced labor camps in Siberia. Indeed, he wrote that set long before Shostakovich wrote his Op. 87 set. (Of course the impetus for both sets surely came from Bach's two books of preludes and fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier.) Zaderatsky's Preludes are similar to Shostakovich's in that they are miniatures, neoclassic in form and feel. But they do not sound like Shostakovich, having a good deal less of the familiar sardonic and cocky Shostakovian manner. They are, however, generally fairly light although there are several preludes, such as No. 20 in C Minor or No. 24 in D Minor, that are dramatic or somber. There are passages that require real virtuosity. Zaderatsky does not quite have Shostakovich's unfailing melodic felicity but there are any number of attractive, engaging and catchy melodies in the set. As well, his craft is evident in his counterpoint and formal procedures.
Pianist Jascha Nemtsov, as it happens, was born in the same northeastern Siberian district as the labor camp where Zaderatsky had been held and perhaps that is one reason he champions the composer's works. He writes movingly, in the CD's booklet, about the composer's time in the Kolyma camp where he scrawled his Preludes and Fugues in pencil in an old notebook and on telegram forms.
Nemtsov's playing is sensitive and communicative. He has technique to spare and an ability to coax varied tones from the beautifully prepared Bechstein piano.
Recommended for the Shostakovich and especially for introducing us to the music of Vsevelod Zaderatsky.