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Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.2, Sonata for Violin & Piano, Concerto for Piano, Trumpet & String Orchestra CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concertos
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Audio CD, CD, 6 Feb 2012
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Frequently bought together

  • Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.2, Sonata for Violin & Piano, Concerto for Piano, Trumpet & String Orchestra
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  • Shostakovich: Complete Preludes and Fugues
Total price: £34.78
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Product details

  • Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovitch
  • Audio CD (6 Feb. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B006OGSS80
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,336 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Op. 102 - Alexander Melnikov/Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  2. Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major, Op. 134 - Isabelle Faust/Alexander Melnikov
  3. Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra in C Minor, Op. 35 - Various Performers

Product description

Product description

HMF 902104; HARMONIA MUNDI - Francia; Classica Orchestrale per Piano

Review

[Melnikov] is a profoundly intelligent, articulate musician. Isabelle Faust s performance humanises one of this composer's bleakest pieces...Gripping stuff. --Graham Rickson, TheArtsDesk.com, 25 February 2012

Inspired, poetic slow movements, witty and idiomatic fast ones, sparky accompaniments and excellent recorded sound. GRAMOPHONE CRITICS' CHOICE 2012 --David Fanning, Gramophone December 2012

Customer Reviews

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This is a superb CD - no ifs or buts. The underrated second piano concerto is brilliantly played and the beauty, poise and poignancy of the second movement comes through fully. Melnikov makes it sound so much more profound than other recordings. The much earlier concerto for piano, trumpet and strings (an odd piece which I have never really warmed to) is also played very well. However, the star of this show is Shostakovich's 'difficult' late sonata for violin and piano, Opus 134. The first movement in particular has a searing intensity which is utterly breathtaking and I have never heard anyone - not even Oistrakh - play it as well as this. Shostakovich was clearly a soul in torment by the time that he wrote this piece, but nonetheless the brilliance, pathos and sheer indomitable humanity shines through incredibly strongly in this recording. Melnikov's own liner notes are both thoughtful and communicate very clearly the importance of this extraordinary piece of music.
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With the fine efforts of Bernstein, Previn and Eugene List lazing in the soft autumn light of the historic display cabinet, many a fine recording of the two piano concertos have appeared over the last twenty years, the ones by Bronfman, Marshev, Hamelin, and - lately - Helmchen to be found at the top of my recently updated list of front-runners. This disc, which to boot benefits from the addition of the second violin sonata, however, cannot be ignored and must be awarded its rightful pedestal in the same luxurious penthouse department.

Alexander Melnikov, by now firmly established as a first-class interpreter of Shostakovich thanks to his brilliant set of the 24 Preludes & Fugues, finds the pianistic equilibrism for the fast-paced outer movements spot on (less overtly showy than Hamelin, but still pretty impressive at that!), while the slow ones give us a rare and rarefied atmosphere of melancholy introspection that Shostakovich avoided in his own recordings, but which is undeniably there and should by right be addressed. The recording quality is absolutely first class as well, warm but, for once these days, not bass-heavy with a fine and sensitive spotlighting of the solo instruments. On that note, a particularly hearty "well done!" should go to Jeroen Berwaerts for his trumpet playing in the first concerto, truly a soloist performance deserving of a mention on the front cover - which, rather strangely, it hasn't.

I am not particularly partial to the otherwise much publicized violin of Isabelle Faust, having found her input on the recent CD-set of Beethoven sonatas a rather underwhelming experience - especially when compared to the show-stopping simultaneous issue featuring Frank Braley and Renaud Capucon.
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Melnikov is a brilliant pianist. I was very impressed by his disc of Shostakovich's preludes and fugues. As for the concertos, this disc is one of the best I have heard in recent years, as good as, if not better than, Marc-Andre Hamelin's excellent version. The recording quality is very good. Highly recommended.
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This disc, very well recorded in 2010-11, features the two piano concertos from early in Shostakovich's oeuvres plus the late violin sonata (op. 2, 35 & 134). Not only do they come from opposite ends of the composer's life, they also could not be more different in their style and content, the concertos being essentially good humoured works and the sonata being intensely serious. As Melkinov says in his own sleeve notes, 'This music is as far from 'easy listening' as it gets.' He expands a great deal on this aspect in terms of the sonata and additionally suggests that there is also a darker side to the two concertos if one chooses to look for it.

The sonata is certainly a very tough nut to crack as a listening experience. That it was a work of deep significance to the composer is established from the very start with the use of his trade mark musical signature of the theme DSCH (D, Eb, Db, C-B). Creatively, the sonata's composition is linked to his symphony 14 which is in turn associated with the subject of death and which, in the words of the composer, 'continues' Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. The sonata is thus a work of introspection and tension. The three movements consist of two lengthy outer movements, andante and largo framing a faster and shorter central movement. The sombre outer movements frame that biting and humourless central scherzo-like moderato movement which does nothing to lighten the mood. On the contrary it emphasis the sense of struggle and anguish. The work is concluded by the lengthy largo which underlines the nature of the composition.

This difficult work is delivered with empathy and commitment by both Isabelle Faust and Melkinov and is placed second in the program.
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