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Respighi: Piano Concerto / Fantasia Slava CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, 19 Jul 1995
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Howard Griffiths
  • Composer: Ottorino Respighi
  • Audio CD (19 July 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000001468
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,908 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Interesting compositions from an underrated Composer,it is nice to discover pieces of music that are new to me and very enjoyable to the ear.
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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jun. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are two early works and one latish one on this disc. The brief Slavic Fantasy is obviously one outcome of Respighi’s period of study with Rimsky-Korsakov, but the piano concerto (even earlier) is of a more generalised late-romantic type, which is not surprising when one considers that at its date of publication Brahms was only five years dead and Dvorak was still alive. These pieces make no demands of the listener, but there is no reason to be supercilious about them.

The really interesting item is the Toccata, actually slightly longer than the officially-designated concerto. The respected musical sage Donald Francis Tovey distinguished between two types of toccata. On the one hand there were the ‘rich and varied compositions’ given the name of toccata by Bach. On the other hand were ‘dull perpetuum mobile etudes’, authorship unspecified. Tovey probably has a legitimate point regarding the latter category, although I would like to exempt Schumann’s and Poulenc’s perpetua mobilia from the charge of dullness. Be that as it may, what we get from Respighi is definitely in my own opinion a rich and varied composition. Its date is not far from that of the Concerto Misolidio and the idiom is not worlds apart from that either. There is a striking central section that is definitely on the dark side, and an interesting feature is a short obbligato part for a solo cello.

It gives me great pleasure to say that the recording (1994 DDD) lets us hear the fine and accomplished soloist Konstantin Scherbakov as he deserves to be heard, and I have no such reservations about the piano sound as I felt bound to register when reviewing his Misolidio offering.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Continuing my brief reviews of the Naxos Respighi CDs I have bought in recent times, the disc under inspection features the terrific pianism of Konstantin Scherbakov backed up by a good orchestra. This Naxos CD has more than acceptable sonics, by-the-way.

Famous for his grandiose and exciting (if you are in the mood) orchestral works such as Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, and Roman Festivals (see Respighi: Symphonic Poems, Respighi's other works such as his opera's (most of which failed), piano works (see Respighi - Piano Works, and, as here, concerted works are much less well-known. Whilst I'd be the first to admit that the concerted works do not really represent the best of Respighi, they can be beautiful and are well worth a hearing or two.

The most succesful of the piano concertos is generally held to be the 1928 "Toccata". This needs to be played enthusiastically, just as Scherbakov does here. The CD also provides the early "Fantasia Slava" and A-minor piano concerto, so the value-for-money equation is very good.

Recommended for those wanting to explore Respighi a little further than the usual orchestral works. I can't imagine you will find better performances of these works, whatever the price of the disc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Well Known Piece! But Beautiful! 5 Mar. 2015
By T. Adamo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is kind of a rare piece of music, we came across it by accident. Well worth adding to your library!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT IS A TOCCATA? 1 Jun. 2014
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are two early works and one latish one on this disc. The brief Slavic Fantasy is obviously one outcome of Respighi’s period of study with Rimsky-Korsakov, but the piano concerto (even earlier) is of a more generalised late-romantic type, which is not surprising when one considers that at its date of publication Brahms was only five years dead and Dvorak was still alive. These pieces make no demands of the listener, but there is no reason to be supercilious about them.

The really interesting item is the Toccata, actually slightly longer than the officially-designated concerto. The respected musical sage Donald Francis Tovey distinguished between two types of toccata. On the one hand there were the ‘rich and varied compositions’ given the name of toccata by Bach. On the other hand were ‘dull perpetuum mobile etudes’, authorship unspecified. Tovey probably has a legitimate point regarding the latter category, although I would like to exempt Schumann’s and Poulenc’s perpetua mobilia from the charge of dullness. Be that as it may, what we get from Respighi is definitely in my own opinion a rich and varied composition. Its date is not far from that of the Concerto Misolidio and the idiom is not worlds apart from that either. There is a striking central section that is definitely on the dark side, and an interesting feature is a short obbligato part for a solo cello.

It gives me great pleasure to say that the recording (1994 DDD) lets us hear the fine and accomplished soloist Konstantin Scherbakov as he deserves to be heard, and I have no such reservations about the piano sound as I felt bound to register when reviewing his Misolidio offering. I was also extremely pleased with the Slovak Radio Symphony orchestra, whose clean and alert playing is well served by a particularly clear recorded tone. The liner note comes in three languages, and if you glance at the back of the box you will find that the English contribution is from Keith Anderson. Anderson’s remarks on the composer are helpful and interesting as background, and as he has three compositions to talk about on this occasion he does not have space to waste on telling us that the music does this and then that and then the next, things we can all hear for ourselves. I only regret that a commentator endowed with thoughts of his own did not take more trouble over what he was doing.

The music is not often performed, the performances here are admirable, and as so often we are indebted to Naxos for giving us the opportunity to become conversant.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not the best of Respighi! 17 Nov. 2008
By vmzfla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For those, like myself who are hooked on Ottorino Respighi's colorful tone poems depicting Rome, will find this piano with orchestra issue mildly interesting. With his 1902 "Piano Concerto" an early work that preceded "Fontane di Roma" by 12yrs. don't expect the same influences of the great tone poems, instead soloist Konstatin Scherbakov must navigate through demanding passages romantic in character. It is a work opening in grandiose, then lyrical calmness and concludes with bravura. The 1903 "Fantasia Slava" a kind of homage to Russia, where Respighi briefly studied with Rimsky-Korsakov. The work has a somber grieving themed opening, but ultimately folk influenced dance elements interplay between piano and orchestra. The whole piece taking on the spirit of Rachmaninov. The "Toccata" comes from the same year as the 1928 "Feste romane" but exhibits a Baroque influence, with it's abrupt sporadic rhythms. It includes a novel central section that offers exchanges between cello soloist and the pianist. A very melancholy passage before giving way to a brilliant conclusion. While all those who participate in this recording are more than competent, only truly committed collectors will find this issue of interest.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPETELY ACCESSIBLE 21 Aug. 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The works on this bargain priced Naxos recording find the composer Ottorino Respighi, to me, at his most accessible. It contains three late romantic sounding works in one movement each spanning well over twenty (20) minutes each with fast and slow sections in each one. I loved especially the concerto with its piano spanning arpeggios, exciting octave passages and its beautiful and very melodic slow section. To be honest, down through the years, I have for the most part found a lot of Respighi's music somewhat inaccessible to my musical understanding finding it kind of dissonant and rather unappealing to me. NOT with this disc; the music contained therein is very accessible and enjoyable, to me, to listen to. The two other works Toccata for Piano and Orchestra and Fantasia Slava for Piano and Orchestra also written by Respighi in the early 1920's are wonderfully romantic too being filled with beautiful melodies harmonies and much pianist virtuosity.

Konstantin Scherbakov plays these works splendidly with loads of "bravado" and deep feeling. The Slovak Radio Symphony under Howard Griffiths provides great accompaniment to his wonderful playing. The recorded sound is great too.

So if you want to expand your musical horizons a little, as I did, buy this disc; it is marvelous!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A diamond in the rough 13 Feb. 2007
By Pernickity - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
How could anyone say that Respighi didn't write tuneful music? These piano concertos will prove even the strongest Respighi detractor to be wrong. Scherbakov wonderful playing brings out the Russian quality of the music, sounding very much like Rachmaninov. This is thoroughly appropriate as Respighi was influenced by his time spent in Russia. The slower middle sections of all three pieces are quite touching, and the faster movements full of pianistic fire and passion. Of course all this is accompanied with Respighi's unrivalled orchestrations.
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