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Schumann: Kreisleriana; Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty

Schumann / Tchaikovsky / Lapshin
Release Date: 08/10/2010 
Label:  Classical Records   Catalog #: 129   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Konstantin Lapshin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHUMANN Kreisleriana. TCHAIKOVSKY-PLETNEV Sleeping Beauty: Suite Konstantin Lapshin (pn) CLASSICAL RECORDS CR-129 (65:09)

Konstantin Lapshin, born in Zhukosky, Russia, in 1978, now lives in London, where he studied piano with Vanessa Latarche at the Royal College of Music. He has been a prizewinner in numerous international competitions, and has appeared in concert throughout the U.K., and as soloist with several Read more orchestras in Russia. The brilliant Russian pianist/conductor Mikhail Pletnev, transcriber of Tchaikovsky orchestral works for piano, has been a major inspiration to Lapshin.

The immediate impression this pianist gives is how “Russian” he is: a big, impressive technique, and the impulsive, romantic expression that has been a hallmark of so many Russian pianists, including the two he admires most, Rachmaninoff and Horowitz. This CD, recorded in Russia in 2009, marks his recording debut.

Kreisleriana starts out with an impetuous rush, much like Horowitz’s playing—so rushed that the thrust of the melody gets a little lost. But one feels the ardent passion that is so characteristic of Schumann’s youthful piano pieces. Here, as in other places, Horowitz’s reading of Kreisleriana is evoked. Lapshin brings out different voices, skillfully weaving melodic lines, and plays with finesse and clarity. He is very effective in the tender and moody sections, where Schumann has indicated “heartfelt,” for example, and the fast sections are exciting. As Lapshin explains in the preceding interview, Russians are all about temperament and large souls—and he is clearly one of them.

The familiar music of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Sleeping Beauty adapts surprisingly well in Pletnev’s transcription for piano solo (although this is the reverse of the more usual transcription, an orchestration of a piano work, as in Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition). Pletnev’s arrangement is brilliant and rich, stripped though it is of Tchaikovsky’s lush orchestral sounds. It is full of thorny technical demands, such as the rapid repeated notes in “Vision.” But though shorn of its orchestral effects, it is still Tchaikovsky, abounding in beautiful melodies and rich harmonies, and Lapshin plays it lovingly and brilliantly.

All together, an impressive debut, and a well-recorded and pleasurable disc.

FANFARE: Susan Kagan
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Works on This Recording

Kreisleriana, Op. 16 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Konstantin Lapshin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Length: 35 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Konstantin Lapshin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Russia 

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