Search - Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Sergey Prokofiev, Mily Balakirev :: Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Balakirev: Islamey

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Balakirev: Islamey
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Sergey Prokofiev, Mily Balakirev
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Balakirev: Islamey
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Russian piano music is presented and performed brilliantly here by Russian pianist ANDREI GAVRILOV on this compilation of EMI Classics recordings made in 1977 and 1979 at Abbey Road Studios in London. The Philharmonia Orc...  more »

      
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Album Description
Russian piano music is presented and performed brilliantly here by Russian pianist ANDREI GAVRILOV on this compilation of EMI Classics recordings made in 1977 and 1979 at Abbey Road Studios in London. The Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Riccardo Muti and the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Simon Rattle play the first piano concertos of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Prokofiev with Gavrilov in the first part of the program with delightful intensity and fire. The main theme of the Tchaikovsky concerto is one of his most well known and has become quite famous even in pop culture. From the first notes played, most will recognize this very romantic and dramatic piece of music. Though lesser well know, Prokofiev's first piano concerto demonstrates Gavrilov's mastering of the instrument as the work immediately takes off into a flight of ecstasy from the very beginning that only the most accomplished pianists can realize. The program is! followed by 3 shorter in length solo piano pieces by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Mily Balakirev. "Islamey" composed by Balakirev (referred to often as the founding father of the Russian composers) is often heard in its orchestral version but this solo piano recording offers the same fire and dancing spirit that many conductors conjure from the large orchestra.

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CD Reviews

Stunning Prokofiev and very fine Tchaikovsky
Stephen Campbell | Dandenong Ranges, VIC Australia | 11/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite competition from Argerich, Ashkenazy, Grafman, Kissin and others, this is still pretty much the most dazzling performance of the Prokofiev 1st Piano Concerto ever recorded. Originally coupled with an equally brilliant performance of the Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto (not now available except 2nd hand) it is also notable for its exceptionally full and brilliant recording.

The Tchaikovsky concerto is also very fine, though here the competition is pretty fierce - while Balakirev's Islamey is pretty stunning also."
Gavrilov's Reference Prokofiev and Disappointing Tchaikovsky
C. Pontus T. | SE/Asia | 08/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Gavrilov produced one of the most sparkling piano concerto couplings in 1977 together with Rattle. Prokofiev's First Concerto paired with Ravel's Left Hand Concerto earned Gavrilov, Rattle and the LSO the 1978 Gramophone Award in the Concerto category. Both still remain reference versions, recorded in unusually full and vivid Abbey Road sound, although the latter has been challenged by Zimerman's crystalline 1994 account with Boulez (Ravel: The Piano Concertos; Valses nobles et sentimentales). Having been out of the catalogue for long, its recent return as part of Rattle's 5-disc Debussy/Ravel compilation is all the more welcome (Debussy: Images; Jeux; La Mer; Ravel: Alborada del gracioso; Daphnis et Chloé [Box Set]).

Prokofiev's conservatory piece, with which he won the Rubinstein Prize for piano playing in 1914, has never sounded so youthfully dazzling on record as in the hands of Gavrilov. Listen to his tossing off of the first-movement C-major solo passage (1:03), his alluring opening and brutal repeated chords passages of the second movement (0:48 and 2:14, respectively), and his exuberant and flying third-movement Cadenza (1:08). Rattle's support is excellent--far more natural, spontaneous and energetic than many of his later, highly mannered outings.

The fillers are equally distinguished. Even if Tchaikovsky's Variations is a seldom-heard piece, it is brought to life spectacularly by Gavrilov's nimble fingers. Balakirev's Islamey is given a predictably scorching performance. Prokofiev's Suggestion diabolique has always been a favourite Gavrilov encore; it is unlikely his abandon has been matched in this frenzied Dance of the Devil.

Well, then there is the Tchaikovsky First--indeed, one of the most hackneyed of all musical works. Even if I have lost count of how many versions my collection includes, very few of them are revisited with any degree of regularity. Gavrilov and Muti's 1979 account with the Philharmonia does not belong to this group, mainly thanks to Muti's ponderous conducting. As a general rule, Tchaikovsky Firsts where the first movement extends much above 20 minutes are likely to fail. Gavrilov/Muti's 22 minutes and 32 seconds sound more like half an hour... In spite of some flashing fingerwork from Gavrilov, the second and third movements hardly fare much better.

Consequently, the inclusion of the Tchaikovsky First means one star has to be withheld from what would otherwise be a hands-down 5-star disc.

TIMINGS: Tchaikovsky First--22:32, 8:11, 6:40; Prokofiev First--6:08, 3:53, 3:58; Theme & Variations--11:12; Islamey--8:00

REFERENCES: Prokofiev First & Tchaikovsky Variations--This One; Tchaikovsky First--Volodos/Ozawa (Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1: Rachmaninoff: Solo Piano Works [Hybrid SACD]); Islamey--Pletnev (Pletnev Live at Carnegie Hall)"