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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1 / The Nutcracker Suite
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£8.31+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 19 December 2005
I've listened to dozens of reecordings of this work and two stand out. One is currently unavailable (browning LSO, Ozawa) and this is the other. It's perhaps the 'safest' choice for this concerto as it combines excellent sound with a sharp and exciting performance. It's hard to describe how excellent it really is but I can say that this recording has been widely acclaimed by a wide range of critics so it's a CD that you can buy in confidence.
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on 4 February 2008
This performance is not to my taste. I found it mannered, erratic and unpleasant. Again and again I found elements of the performance intrusively surprising, especially the 'rubato'. I strongly advocate hearing it before you buy it. Don't assume, as I did, that it will be a solid classic performance. Also, the overall soundscape is muddy, lumpy and just generally unpleasant. One man's meat, but poison for me I am afraid.
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on 12 September 2015
Martha Argerich's third live recording (chronologically) of Tchaikovsky's popular Piano Concerto is probably her most accomplished. With many years of performing the piece behind her, she knew the composition perfectly in 1994 - but still, it sounds full of freshness, joy and passion, as if this music was made for the first time. Quick as a thunderbolt, but very controlled even in the moments of most spellbinding virtuosity.
The CD was in 1995 coupled with piano duet with Cyprus-born Nicolas Economou, who had already been dead at the time (died in a car crash in 1993). Originally, the Nutcracker Suite (adapted for two pianos from a ballet music symphonic format) was on a 1983 album with Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances. The Argerich/Economou two-piano playing is among the most exciting you will ever hear.
This wonderful disc is even good to serve as an introduction to Tchaikovsky - and lovers of this great Russian composer are bound to take it to a desert island.
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on 15 February 2018
Usually I'm not a fan of live recordings, however, you can't go wrong with this expertly played account of Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto. It's also one of Claudio Abbado's best recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic. There is always the risk of duplicating recordings because of what fills the rest of the CD, but little chance with this disc. My only encounter with the Nutcracker Suite played on two pianos - in parts beautiful and in others breath-taking for its energy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 December 2010
I read the reviews on this CD and on many alternatives.I only know this first concerto well,the others interest me less,I bought a used "as new" one from an Amazon shop and am very satisfied with my bargain at 75% discount ! I cannot add any critical comments as to the quality of the performance,other reviewers have done that with more authority than I can offer,apart from saying it is a driven and exciting one,it is all so personal and subjective. However,where I can offer some comment is regarding the recording quality.There are 3 sounds systems here,a Pure bookshelf system,a Sony 5.1 system with BluRay/DVD/CD player and best of all my Cambridge Audio system,ancient but superior.I tried this CD on all 3.It has a good sound stage,with the whole orchestra laid out in front,you can imagine being there with your eyes shut and sitting relaxed.However string tones,well violins,do go edgy in loud sections,with loss of fine detail and seem to suffer some "interference/modulation" from the rest of the orchestra and the louder the orchestra plays the more noticeable this is,hence the 4 stars.That is not to say the recording is poor,the orchestra is only playing flat out for a small percentage of the time,but for a relatively modern recording I expect better.Just to prove my ears were not playing tricks I put on some other CD's of varous ages from Decca,some remastered as ADD,later ones DDD,none exhibited the same problems.There are many other recordings available of this popular piece and my advice is if you have any doubts try and listen to some samples.
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on 21 May 2014
I have mixed feelings about this CD. In the Piano Concerto, the piano is balanced forward of the orchestra in what seems to me to be an artificial way. Whilst this has the benefit of being able to hear the piano more clearly than I think I have ever heard it before, it doesn't sound like I would hear it in a real concert hall. I like the performance of the 1st and 2nd movements. This is not a typical 'hit the keys as hard as you can' performance - there is much subtlety to be heard. The last part of the 3rd movement is taken too fast for my liking. Whilst it is exciting, it is so fast that detail is lost, and in a couple of places it is danger of falling apart.

The Nutcracker suite is an enjoyable filler, well played and recorded. If you enjoy it, you may wish to have a listen to the Percy Grainger paraphrase of the Waltz of the Flowers as a comparison.

So overall - mixed feelings - I can't help feeling that there are better versions of the piano concerto to be heard.
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on 23 April 2013
Out of all the recordings of Tchaikovsky's great piano concerto no.1, two stand out for me. One is Ronan O'Hora/James Judd/RPO recorded in 1994, and the other is a CD made in 1995 with the amazing Martha Argerich/Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra(DG). I prefer the dramatic opening movement with the horn fanfare at a fast tempo and that's what happens here. Martha comes in with the big sweeping chords in grand style and maintains that throughout the first movement. In the second movement come the emotional quality and deft touch that make Martha Argerich so listenable. The power and strength in her playing return in the final movement. This is an amazing version of this tremendous work. Also on this CD is a fantastic piano duet of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite with Martha Argerich and Nicolas Economou and it is exquisitely played by both pianists.
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on 15 January 2016
I have a number of versions of this work but this one stands out head and shoulders in my opinion above the others. Ms Argerich's playing is a wonder. If you only ever buy one version, this is the one to go for.
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on 21 February 2017
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on 3 June 2016
The piano version of the Nutcracker is super I can'tl listen enough of it. Love it!
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