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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1; Rachmaninov, Kabalevsky / Cliburn, Kondrashin, Moscow PO

Release Date: 01/13/2009 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1440   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskySergei RachmaninovDmitri Kabalevsky
Performer:  Van Cliburn
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The '58 Tchaikovsky Competition proved truly that Van's the man

Amazing though it seems, this is the first appearance of Van Cliburn’s legendary victorious performances at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. If pinpoint accuracy is your thing, this won’t be for you. But for interpretative genius allied to a nerve-jangling sense of occasion, this is unforgettable. A disc to shake you to the core.

-- Gramophone [2/2009]

Van Cliburn's RCA recordings of the Tchaikovsky First and Rachmaninov Third concertos easily justify the pianist's youthful acclaim after winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. However,
Read more these live performances from the event's final round on April 11, 1958 communicate far more excitement alongside Cliburn's innately lyrical gifts. In his own way, Cliburn matches Horowitz and Argerich for palpable electricity, elemental fervor, emotional daring, singing line, and unabashed romanticism. Tempos are not so broad as annotator Bryce Morrison claims, yet for all the forward sweep both Cliburn and conductor Kyrill Kondrashin generate, nothing ever sounds rushed. The pianist takes time to articulate and shape countermelodies and inner voices without undue lingering or exaggerating details.

Cliburn's intelligent musicality makes room for virtuosic panache, as borne out in the Tchaikovsky concerto's infamous octaves and demanding coda. His huge hands also make less work and more sense out of Rachmaninov's thicker first-movement cadenza in comparison to many pianists. Small wonder Cliburn swept the Russian audiences off their feet. Under Kondrashin's inspired and involving leadership the less than world-class orchestra plays with impressive point and rhythmic verve (note the rapid piano and woodwind exchanges in the Tchaikovsky finale, or the vividly characterized first-desk solos throughout the Rachmaninov). For an encore, Cliburn tosses off Kabalevsky's Rondo (written for the competition) as if he were improvising it on the spot. The sonics do not exactly represent the era's state of the art, yet they are balanced and listenable. A real treat for piano buffs.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Van Cliburn (Piano)
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1874 - 1875). 
Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Van Cliburn (Piano)
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Russia 
Rondo for Piano, Op. 59 by Dmitri Kabalevsky
Performer:  Van Cliburn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USSR 

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