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Shura Cherkassky - The Complete HMV Stereo Recordings


Release Date: 08/11/2009 
Label:  First Hand Records   Catalog #: 4   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachLudwig van BeethovenFranz SchubertFrédéric Chopin,   ... 
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Recorded in Abbey Road Studio No. 3, London, 1956 & 1958 and Kingsway Hall, London 1958

R E V I E W:

To commemorate what would have been pianist Shura Cherkassky's 100th birthday in 2009, First Hand brings together all of the mercurial and charismatic virtuoso's stereo HMV recordings. All are new to CD except for eight titles previously reissued by Testament in mono. Save for the gorgeously engineered, playfully dispatched Litolff Scherzo, the stereo sonics are a trifle boxy and frayed around the edges in comparison with the label's best sounding piano discs of that era (Solomon's Beethoven Op. 90, for example). Still, this is vintage Cherkassky.

He achieves expressive variety in the Bach/Busoni
Read more Chaconne through tone color and nuance rather than tempo fluctuation, while in the Liszt 13th Rhapsody and Faust Waltz Paraphrase, repeated phrases emerge with freshly minted inner voices and accentuations. Cherkassky naughtily "winds down" the final measure of Liadov's Musical Snuffbox, and renders a leaner, less garish Saint-Saëns/Godowsky "The Swan" than what I remember from the pianist's later, plusher readings.

The Chopin E-flat Waltz and F minor Op. 7 No. 3 Mazurka define charm and personality. So do the Second and Third Ballades, although Cherkassky's modified dynamics sidestep the F major middle section's agitated qualities. Of the two A-flat Ballade takes, I prefer the more fluid and cleaner "alternate" reading. Cherkassky's unusually lyrical conceptions of the Rachmaninov B-flat and G minor Preludes are as convincing as his lily-gilding, elephantine Gershwin D-flat Prelude is stylistically clueless. That won't deter Cherkassky mavens, of course! All told, a worthwhile release from an enterprising new label.

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

1. Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 5th movement, Chaconne by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
2. Bagatelles (11) for Piano, Op. 119: no 1 in G minor, Allegretto by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820-1822; Vienna, Austria 
3. Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 899/Op. 90: no 4 in A flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
4. Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7: no 3 in F minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Vienna, Austria 
5. Waltz for Piano in E flat major, B 62/Op. 18 "Grande valse brillante" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Poland 
6. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27: no 2 in D flat major, B 96 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
7. Ballade for Piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1839; Paris, France 
8. Ballade for Piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; Paris, France 
9. Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 13 in A minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
10. Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod's "Faust", S 407 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1861; Weimar, Germany 
11. Concerto symphonique for Piano no 4 in D minor, Op. 102: Scherzo by Henry Charles Litolff
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1852; France 
12. Carnival of the animals: no 13, The swan by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
13. Preludes (10) for Piano, Op. 23: no 5 in G minor, Alla marcia by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
14. Preludes (10) for Piano, Op. 23: no 2 in B flat major, Maestoso by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1903; Russia 
15. Preludes (3) for Piano by George Gershwin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
16. Pieces (3) for Piano: no 2, Toccata by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928/1953; France 
17. Chinese Pieces (3) by Abram Chasins
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

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