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Shostakovich: Music For Piano / Melvin Chen

Release Date: 10/23/2007 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9238   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Melvin Chen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a brilliant recital, one that reveals just about every facet of Shostakovich's musical personality in terms of his writing for piano. The novelty for most listeners will be Dances of the Dolls, yet another arrangement of numbers from his film and ballet music, aimed at younger players. Somehow these tunes sound even more charming and witty in their keyboard guise, and Melvin Chen's clean and rhythmically snappy approach lets their puckish humor speak for itself. Both the Aphorisms and the First Sonata reveal the young, modernist Shostakovich, the latter work in particular. Once again Chen manages to give shape and meaning to music that can sound merely noisy, but he does it without
Read more sacrificing the music's aggressiveness or impetuosity.

With the Second Sonata we encounter the mature composer around the time of the Second World War, when he was creating some of his finest large works. This sonata never has caught on, partly on account of its typically spare textures, but more likely because it's a very large work (nearly 30 minutes) that ends quietly and enigmatically. Certainly it does not sound in any way lacking in content here. Chen keeps the music interesting, particularly in the long variation finale, which has plenty of contrast and seems perfectly paced. This is music that, given time and a fine performance like this one, will grow on you. So if you like Shostakovich but have not yet warmed to his piano music, try this superbly played and recorded CD. I suspect it will win you over.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano no 1, Op. 12 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USSR 
Aphorisms (10) for Piano, Op. 13 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USSR 
Sonata for Piano no 2 in B minor, Op. 61 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USSR 
Dolls' Dances (7) for Piano, Op. 91c by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1962; USSR 

Sound Samples

Dances of the Dolls: I. Lyrical Waltz
Dances of the Dolls: II. Gavotte
Dances of the Dolls: III. Romance
Dances of the Dolls: IV. Polka
Dances of the Dolls: V. Petite Ballerina
Dances of the Dolls: VI. Hurdy-Gurdy
Dances of the Dolls: VII. Dance
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: I. Recitative
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: II. Serenade
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: III. Nocturne
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: IV. Elegie
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: V. Marche Funebre
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: VI. Etude
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: VII. Totentanz
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: VIII. Kanon
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: IX. Legend
Ten Aphorisms, Op. 13: X. Lullaby
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 12 (one Movement): I. Allegro
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 12 (one Movement): II. Lento
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 12 (one Movement): III. Allegro
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 61: I. Allegretto
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 61: II. Largo
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 61: III. (Moderato Con Moto)

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