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Schnittke: Concerto For Piano Four Hands & Concerto For Piano And Strings

1 customer review

Price: £5.78 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£5.78 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Guennadi Rojdestvenski
  • Composer: Alfred Schnittke
  • Audio CD (31 Mar. 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B00008W7OT
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,146 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Schnittke : Concerto for Piano 4 Hands and Chamber Orchestra
2. Schnittke : Concerto for Piano and Strings

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tarasque on 21 Nov. 2007
Format: Audio CD
...keyboard textures in the `Concerto for piano four hands & chamber orchestra' can be pretty dense at times - clusters tonal and non-tonal, hammered and whispered - are very much part of the vocabulary from the start and the extreme registers are of course featured more than is usual. But, with a percussion section that includes tubular bells, celesta, cymbals, bass drums and tam-tam, the `chamber' orchestra has enough weight to hold its own and there is no lack of balance between soloists and ensemble. But nor is there any muddiness here: for one thing the piano and orchestra spend little time actually playing together and there is sufficient space and variation in the use of the resources to avoid the overwrought quality that modern music doesn't always avoid when using orchestral rather than chamber resources.
The `Concerto for piano & strings' starts more sweetly and quietly than the first piece with the piano almost hesitant as it introduces the main motif of the piece - a single note repeated perhaps a dozen times before resolving upwards through a major second to a minor third. This motif is taken up later by the massed strings which try to turn it into a kind of anthemic cadence - an effort thwarted by dissonant notes in their own scoring and by hammered nontonal clusters from the piano - is it supporting the strings with reckless overenthusiasm or wildly attacking them? Not all is blood and thunder, however. There are quiet lyrical passages from the piano which plays solo at some length and there are spacious passages from the strings where pizzicato and special bowing techniques produce a sound of mysterious disquiet recalling for me the wonderful `allegro misterioso' of Berg's `Lyric suite'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The best so far 12 Jan. 2008
By villegem - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Despite many new releases of the Concerto for Piano & Strings -the Spivakov, Khudolei versions come to mind-, Postnikova's version remains the best available now re-released on Apex.

Although some liberty is taken with the text rythmically, Postnikova and her husband the conductor Rozhdestvensky convey with imposing solemnity the gist of the concerto. So this re-issue of the Erato original release is a must have. I also wish to suggest another recording equally powerful released as a bonus track of the performance of Schnittke Sonata for Piano No.1 and the premiere recording of all 7 Little Piano Pieces because of its lesser sound quality, of the latest concert conducted by Maestro Yuri Nikolaevsky, a personal friend of Schnittke and soloist Svetlana Ponomareva available on amazon canada. Of special interest, her website (ponomarevapianist) also shows the video of this concert,as well posted on video google canada. Musicweb International commented "this was a significant and powerful performance".

Finally the Concerto for Piano Four Hands is with Irina Schnittke and Postnikova a remarkable piece prefacing Schnittke's later style. This Apex CD is a bargain and again a MUST Have.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Schnittkian Rock 'n' Roll Concerto Experience 11 Jan. 2010
By C. Pontus T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
One of rather few Schnittke works I keep revisiting, at least occasionally, is the Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, composed in 1979. There is a handful of extant recordings, but none is likely to equal this one when it comes to idiomaticness and thrill factor. As it happens, Postnikova and Rozhdetsvensky approach the Concerto as though it were a rock-'n'-roll piece--opting for maximum rhythmic buoyancy, forceful accents and huge dynamic contrasts. This is about as invigorating as Schnittke's music ever was.

As to the Concerto for Piano Four Hands and Chamber Orchestra of nine years later, I feel about as indifferent as the music sounds. Postnikova and Rozhdetsvensky do as much as anyone conceivably can with this disconsolate score. One account of this Concerto is more than sufficient.

The London Sinfonietta plays with admirable commitment, and the Erato engineers secure amongst the best sound that can be had from this source. Provided that you are not after SACD demonstration sound or Schnittke's earliest and most pianistic concertante work--which is indeed one of the more rewarding Piano Concertos from the second half of last century (Kupiec/Strobel)--this Apex reissue, despite its short measure (compensated by a price below £5 in the UK), should be enough to fill the space allotted to piano and orchestra in any non-fanatic Schnittke collection.

REFERENCE: This One
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent performance of the Concerto for Piano and Strings along with an enigmatic late work 28 Aug. 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm happy to see that this old Erato disc has now been reissued in Warner's budget line Apex. It features one of Alfred Schnittke's most popular works in excellent performance along with, as far as I know, the only recording of a late work. Gennady Rozhdestvensky leads the London Sinfonietta, with Viktoria Postnikova as piano soloist, and the composer's widom Irina Schnittke appearing on the piano four-hand work.

The Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (1979) uses many different features and is a combination of variation, sonata, and cyclic form, with one theme related to Orthodox chant and another a twelve-tone series with tonal features, the whole being fairly easily graspable. The concerto starts its peak early with an ostinato reminscent of Sofia Gubaidulina ("Zeitgestalten" or the "Viola Concerto"), and then a heavy cadenza, while the second half of the piece is played piano. This is a fine work, and one of the composer's most accessible and engaging with its clear dramatic arc. I'm amazed that it hasn't entered the standard repertoire. In this recording Rozhdestvensky takes it very slow, with his reading clocking in at 26 minutes compared to e.g. Markiz' 20:30 on a BIS recording. Nonetheless, due to the performers involved and their close personal relationships with Schnittke, I'm drawn to consider this recording authoritative.

The Concerto for Piano Four Hands and Chamber Orchestra (1988) is a somewhat different kind of work, written after Schnittke's first stroke when his style became progressively more spare and bleak. The overall structure is of six sections in one movement, continually rising to peaks that then fall in total catastrophe, and ending with a pianissimo thread that seems to cut off in mid-sentence. There's a quotation from Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphony, and a preoccupation with Romantic excess that was soon to disappear from Schnitke's music. While the result is entertaining enough on one listen, I don't feel like this work calls me back for repeating listening--a problem I have with much late Schnittke.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Everyone Loves Postnikova's Schnittke 24 April 2014
By 21st Century Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I never liked the Piano Concerto, but Postnikova is wonderful, and makes me care. I am one of those who prefer the Piano Hour Hands concerto- I think it's a rollicking depressive hoot! (listen to it with the Cello Concerto 2 for context), and, the whole album together makes for quite an arid and acrid ride! I really like it, and I'm not one to fawn over Schnittke too much. (especially the bitter stuff (???)- but here I'm all in!)

Not your introduction to Schnittke, but if you like some wormwood in your akvavit, then, by all means!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Jaw-dropping, Lush and Effusive! 29 May 2013
By brotagonist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It should be no surprise that this album is so good, being a reissue of an Erato disk from 1992. While both pieces are of outstanding quality, the unusual Concerto for Piano Four Hands is the jaw-dropper of the album. The pianists engage in wild exchanges that ebb and peak in a delicious, cacophonous glory. The well-known Concerto for Piano is beautifully lush and effusive. At $4, how can you resist?
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