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Cherkassky Performs Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann & Others

Cherkassky / Mendelssohn / Schubert / Schumann
Release Date: 06/02/2009 
Label:  Bbc Legends   Catalog #: 4254   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnFranz SchubertRobert SchumannPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The old conjuror in gorgeous form.

Released almost at the same time as the excellent conspectus on First Hand Recordings [ FHR04] this Cherkassky BBC recital derives from a 1970 concert. The other item included at the QEH that night was Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.15 but this has already been extracted and used in volume five of the Cherkassky Decca/BBC set issued in 1994.

The old conjuror was in gorgeous form. His Mendelssohn is limpid and refined, the poetry of the Andante unstressed and liquid, whilst the stormier elements of the Rondo capriccioso are despatched with invincible brio and panache. It makes a splendid entrée. This is followed by Schubert’s A
Read more major sonata D959. He only had two Schubert sonatas in his active repertoire so we’re fortunate that examples of D664 and this one have survived. He stresses the melodic axis of the music in a reading of deft buoyancy and consonance. It’s lively, affectionate and richly voiced, with the result that contrastive material is more than somewhat downplayed. The warmly textured slow movement enfolds a B section that doesn’t rage, but is again a study in emotional control. A frisky Scherzo and a supple, refined finale complete a performance of generous ease; it’s an entirely different Schubertian ethos to many other performers, but that’s the value of it.

Carnaval again offers myriad opportunities for those sleight of hand inflexions, stresses and rhythmic subtleties that make his playing so mercurial and bewitching, There are certainly some energising tempi here, driving powerfully in the Pr é ambule, whereas Eusebius is a model of limpid poetry. Coquette is played with a requisite arched eyebrow and Chopin is - of course - a gorgeously rich oasis. Few could tease as Cherkassky could; prepare to be duly teased in the Valse allemande. The Tchaikovsky Cradle Song was never commercially recorded which makes its appearance here all the more valuable, and an appropriately energising Der Kontrabandiste ends the recording with appropriate brio.

The sound quality is entirely unproblematic, and notes are good, as is usual from this source.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International 
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Works on This Recording

1. Rondo capriccioso for Piano in E major, Op. 14 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/01/1970 
Venue:  Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Piano in A major, D 959 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/01/1970 
Venue:  Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England 
Length: 35 Minutes 27 Secs. 
3. Carnaval, Op. 9 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1835; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/01/1970 
Venue:  Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England 
Length: 23 Minutes 30 Secs. 
4. Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. 74: no 10, Der Kontrabandiste by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/01/1970 
Venue:  Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
5. Songs (6), Op. 16: no 1, Cradle song by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 11/01/1970 
Venue:  Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 

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