Symphonies on a Steinway / Konstantin Scherbakov
Steinway & Sons
Number of Discs:
5 Hours 48 Mins.
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
A pianistic perspective on the greatest symphonic cycle of them all - from Steinway & Sons
Limited edition package available exclusively at ArkivMusic.
"Scherbakov plays with a white-hot intensity that makes for thrilling listening and the result is that Liszt’s work on transcribing these symphonies is allowed to stand on its own without any comparison with the original works being made, even unwittingly... you are in for a treat" -- Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International
SYMPHONIES 2 AND 5
Franz Liszt viewed his solo piano transcriptions of the Beethoven Symphonies as a means to disseminate these works and make them accessible
to the general public. This, of course, was decades before Edison invented recorded sound, and a century before umpteen Beethoven cycles jockeyed for position on the CD racks. Why listen to Beethoven's symphonies on the piano, then, when orchestral versions are everywhere to be had? I can answer that question in four words: Liszt was a genius. He conveys the emotional essence of Beethoven's instrumentation in pianistic terms, with a sixth sense for when to fill in textures, as well as what to leave out. While the piano writing isn't particularly dense, the keyboard layout involves frequent register shifts and busy contrapuntal activity. Konstantin Scherbakov's stupendous technique and grounded musicianship allows him to bring these elements into play with fluent ease and rock-solid rhythm. He may not inflect the Fifth Symphony's slow movement as ravishingly as Glenn Gould, but he faces the finale's notey hurdles without resorting to Gould's overdubbing tactics.
The Second Symphony is even better. Scherbakov's swift and steady first movement introduction slides into the Allegro con brio with insidious ease, and his heartfelt, pellucid Larghetto virtually plays itself. No tempo compromises in the Scherzo and Finale are neccesary under this pianist's pliable, secure hands. The resonant, full-bodied, and clear sonics clinch my enthusiastic recommendation.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Featured Sound Samples
Symphony no 2 after Beethoven for Piano: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Symphony no 5 after Beethoven for Piano: IV. Allegro
Symphony no 7 after Beethoven for Piano: I. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, S464/R128: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, S464/R128: II. Andante cantabile con moto
Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, S464/R128: III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, S464/R128: IV. Adagio - Allegro molto vivace
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, S464/R128, "Eroica": I. Allegro con brio
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, S464/R128, "Eroica": II. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, S464/R128, "Eroica": III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, S464/R128, "Eroica": IV. Finale: Allegro molto
Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major, S464/R128: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major, S464/R128: II. Larghetto
Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major, S464/R128: III. Scherzo: Allegro
Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major, S464/R128: IV. Allegro molto
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, S464/R128: I. Allegro con brio
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, S464/R128: II. Andante con moto
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, S464/R128: III. Scherzo
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, S464/R128: IV. Allegro
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Compelling Performance July 25, 2013
By Richard B. (Parma, OH) See All My Reviews
"Well, we know from the get-go that the music is going to be terrific, as it is the legendary Beethoven symphonies transcribed for piano by the master transcriber Franz Liszt. And it is terrific. Listening to the piano transcriptions of such well-known works for the first time is exhilarating, as they are both familiar and new at the same time. It is an adventure, but one for which you must jettison any expectations and comparisons. It is by necessity different than what you know. And it can only work in the hands of a masterful, daring, confident, pianist. And Mr. Scherbakov fits that description wonderfully. This must have been a daunting task, one that would make lesser pianists tremble and stumble. There is no trembling or stumbling here. Only a direct connection to the music, as if both Beethoven and Liszt were sitting beside him on the bench. I heartily recommend this set, particularly for those who occasionally feel they are listening to the same music played the same way over and over and looking for a new twist. This is it. I have but one, minor, trivial gripe, and that is about the odd size of the package, which is 5.5-inch by 10-inch, which makes it difficult to fit in media cabinets designed for conventional CD packages. I would have preferred to see this in standard sized box like other multi-CD sets."