Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here, under the generic title
Ingenious Opposites Volume 2
, is the follow-up to Zaslavsky’s Schumann-Liszt recital reviewed in
36:5. Impressive though that first installment was, I found it slightly on the sober side, with slow tempos, a dark tone, and a measured approach even in music that arguably depends on self-promotion and improvisatory panache. Much the same tendency to deliberation is found in his
, especially the B-Minor, which, at nearly eight and a half minutes (the norm is closer to six, with plenty of pianists faster than that),
needs a stronger through-line and a greater range of expression if it is not to seem simply redundant.
Elsewhere, though, Zaslavsky is generally sharper in tone and quicker in responsiveness to the music’s changing terrain than he was on the previous disc. I especially enjoyed the tightness and bite of the famous G-Minor Prelude and the heart-stopping rubato and dynamic swings of the
in the same key. And while the central movement of the Prokofiev Seventh Sonata is highly wrought in a manner that plays up its Romantic attachments, and while the second theme of the first movement is arguably over-milked, he’s got more steel than I would have expected in the more motoric sections. Technique is splendid throughout—he’s especially impressive in passages that call on a solid left-hand punch. This is, of course, well-traversed repertoire, and it would be hard to say that Zaslavsky elbows his way into the front rank; still, this is playing of skill, conviction, and imagination, well worth hearing.
The recital comes in both CD and Blu-ray editions, although the Blu-ray production is frustrating. When you put the disc in your machine, it appears to be an audio Blu-ray disc—with a confusing on-screen menu where the tracks don’t match up to those in the program book (although they do match those on the back of the box). But there’s also a listing for something called “Bonus Video,” which turns out to be, in fact, a video version of the entire program, which has its own share of navigation problems. The jacket promises a variety of audio options, but I couldn’t access anything but 4.0 DTS—mastered at a far quieter volume on the video tracks than on the audio-only program. Still, the engineering is impressive, with an enviable transparency, immediacy, and sense of space.
FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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