Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Concerto No. 2. Theme and Variations. Piano Pieces,
Boris Berezovsky (pn); Alexander Vedernikov, cond; Snf Varsovia;
Henri Demarquette (vc)
MIRARE 200 (72:04)
It should be no surprise that a work with such an over-sized musical
personality as the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 would overshadow the more modest Piano Concerto No. 2 from the same composer. There are six times more recordings of the earlier work in the current catalog. But I have long felt that the shadow is cast too large. The Piano Concerto No. 2 has its own, singularly positive traits, from the lyrical opening movement and the slow section of chamber music-like delicacy to the concluding joyous, folksy romp. One of the stumbling blocks for the piece, from a merely practical point of view, is its length. In this respect, it is not modest. At nearly an hour in duration, it is not likely to be programmed for a live concert. Thus, a truncated version, by Alexander Siloti, has been the preferred version on the rare occasion when it is performed in concert.
The cut is largely made in the middle movement, but in the luxury of our homes, why not hear the original music, which is one of Tchaikovsky’s loveliest creations, with its extended solo passages for cello and violin? It is that restored edition that Berezovsky plays, and plays it beautifully. No surprise here; the Muscovite virtuoso is, for my money, one of the most exciting and stylish pianists on the current scene, and this performance is a fine showcase for his ability to use his extraordinary technique at the service of the beauty and dramatic integrity of the music, where others might sound garish and self-important.
Berezovsky rounds out his program with solo piano music from the light side of Tchaikovsky, sunny music unencumbered by the angst of his mature output. The familiar melodies of
are heard here in transcriptions for cello and piano, in elegant renditions by the French cellist Henri Demarquette.
The recording of the Concerto is of a live performance, in Warsaw, 2012. The sound captures the acoustics of medium sized hall, with some blurred detail, which is compensated for by a pleasing warmth and spaciousness. In all, this is a delightful display of the ebullient side of a composer best known for his dark turbulence.
FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in G major, Op. 44 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Written: 1879-1880; Russia
Concerto pour piano No. 2 en Sol Majeur, Op. 44: I. Allegro brillante e molto vivace
Concerto pour piano No. 2 en Sol Majeur, Op. 44: II. Andante non troppo
Concerto pour piano No. 2 en Sol Majeur, Op. 44: III. Allegro con fuoco
Theme and variations, Op. 19 No. 6
Douze morceaux, Op. 40 (extrait): No. 2 Chanson triste
Douze morceaux, Op. 40 (extrait): No. 5 Mazurka
Douze morceaux, Op. 40 (extrait): No. 6 Chant sans paroles
Douze morceaux, Op. 40 (extrait): No. 7 Au village
Douze morceaux, Op. 40 (extrait): No. 8 Valse
Valse sentimentale, Op.51 No. 6: Transcription for cello and piano by Viktor Kubatsky
Andante cantabile, from String Quartet, Op.11: Transcription for cello and piano by David Geringas
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