An excellent performance
Jesse Bye | California | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, Shostakovich was a magnificent composer and performer. The works featured on this CD are a very good representation of his satyrical, ironic style, and the performance of the pieces is perfect. Sometimes the music is dischordant, but never too much; it makes its point without going too far. I bought this CD since I play piano and am working on Shostakovich's Concerto No. 2, and I have not been dissapointed. The sheer speed of some of the pieces is stunning, and the grace and beauty of the slower pieces also amaze me. I highly recommend this recording."
Comical, whimsical, witty, cleverly sarcastic, and even sill
Joe Anthony (a.k.a. JAG 1) | Massachusetts, USA | 01/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The really outstanding pieces here are the two pieces from the more youthful and adventurous days of the composer. Except for the "Festive Overture", I have owned alternate versions of all these pieces on vynal for over two decades. My vynal recording of the two piano concertos are outstanding performances featuring Andre Previn and Leonard Bernstein. My vynal copy of the "Age of Gold" Suite is a rare Westminster recording by one Howard Mitchell and the National Symphony Orchestra. I finally decided to upgrade, and as times are placing me on a budget, I went for a reasonably-priced Naxos recording.
The great thing about Naxos is you get good (maybe nor great) recordings for usually half of what you might otherwize pay. You may not get the big names such as Bernstein or Karajan, but the music is still wonderful.
I've loved the "Age of Gold" Suite since I was a teenager. It's hard to believe sometimes that the long, brooding and over-blown Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, Eleventh and Fourteenth Symphonies of Shostakovich's later years; were composed by the same Shostakovich whose comical, whimsical, witty, cleverly sarcastic, and even silly "Age of Gold" Suite is one wild and crazy ride.
I have often wondered why there are so few recordings of it compared to other modern works. I like the "Age of Gold" at least as much as I enjoy Copland's "Rodeo" or "Billy the Kid" Suites. And I enjoy it better than Stravinsky's "Firebird" or Bartok's "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste".
The Piano Concerto #1 is also quite fresh and bright, featuring a trumpet to accent certain themes. While the Piano Concerto #2 is also quite interesting (especially the delicate "Andante"), it is not quite as spontanious as the earlier work.
Even though I have never heard of any of these performers, there is nothing wrong with this recording. As long as the price remains around $5, it is a good buy. It may not be Bernstein or Karajan, but it is good enough to allow you to enjoy the wonderful wit and artistry of Dmitry Shostakovich for a reasonable price in challenging economic times."
FROM A CONVERT
Terry J. Lehane | 01/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was young I spent Friday evenings with an older friend. We listened to his vast collection of classical tapes and LP's. One evening he said "What'll it be? Sibelius or Shostakovich?" I had to confess I didn't like either. "Of course not" he said matter of factly, "you're still too young." I didn't admit it then but his words hurt. No young person likes to be told they are too young for anything.
Since then I have learned to love Sibelius. Shostakovich remained a problem. Until two weeks ago when I heard his First Piano Concerto on the radio. "This is Shostakovich?" I said with surprise, "but this is terrific." I bought the present album and I play it again and again. I am in, folks--I am a Shostakovichian. Forty-five years after the fact and I am finally old enough. I just wish my friend were still with us for me to tell him. I think he knows.
Superb performances. Recommended by a Convert."