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The Legendary Moscow Recordings 1958 & 1961 / Pollack


Release Date: 11/26/2002 
Label:  Cambria   Catalog #: 1133   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievJohann Sebastian BachGian Carlo MenottiLudwig van Beethoven,   ... 
Performer:  Daniel Pollack
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



The Lengendary Moscow Recordings (1958 and 1961) Daniel Pollack (pn) CAMBRIA 1133, mono (75:53)


PROKOFIEV Piano Sonatas: No. 3 in a; No. 7 in B?. BACH Toccata and Fugue in e, BWV 914. BACH-BUSONI Toccata and Fugue in d, BWV 565. MENOTTI Read more Ricercare and Toccata on a Theme from The Old Maid and the Thief. BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 25 in G. CHOPIN Berceuse in D?, op. 57. Nocturne No. 20 in c?, op. posth. BRAHMS Intermezzos: in E, op. 116/4; in C, op. 119/3. LISZT Consolation No. 3 in D?. PAGANINI-LISZT-BUSONI La Campanella


DANIEL POLLACK IN MOSCOW Daniel Pollack (pn) CLASSICAL RECORDS 136 (70:00)


RACHMANINOFF Preludes: in g, op. 23/5; in G, op. 32/5; in g?, op. 32/12. FRANCK Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue. CHOPIN Mazurka in a, op. 17/4. Scherzo No. 3 in c?, op. 39. Polonaise-Fantaisie in A?, op. 61. Ballade No. 2 in F, op. 38. Polonaise in A?, op. 53


Fifty years separate the two recordings listed in the above headnote. The first is a mix of live and in studio performances (at least I’m assuming such) recorded on two separate occasions three years apart. The two Prokofiev sonatas and the Chopin C?-Minor Nocturne issue from what appears to be an April 1958 recital in Moscow’s Bolshoi Zal. Everything else on the first disc was taped in February 1961 at the Melodiya Recording House Studios. The second CD is all of a piece, having been recorded in March 2009 in the studio of the Russian radio/TV company Kultura.


Considering the source and age of the recordings on the first CD, I’d have to say that the sound is remarkably good; though if that is a high priority for you, I would not want to hype it beyond reasonable expectations given the technology of this vintage and venue. On the other hand, neither would I say that the value of this disc is strictly historical. Daniel Pollack was a prize-winning finalist at the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, and it’s no surprise given the way he launches into Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata. Here is the young pianist, virile, febrile, and ready to risk it all. Pollack takes us on a wild and thrilling ride.


His Bach is unfussy and unmannered. The first movement of his Beethoven sonata is truly Presto, as marked, which brings out its Roadrunner cartoon character even more than usual. Menotti’s Ricercare and Toccata on a Theme from The Old Maid and the Thief was not a piece I’d ever heard before. The opening Ricercare echoes Bach, but the Toccata is a scintillating moto perpetuo that is almost Prokofiev-like in its percussive, driving force, but purged of the sharp dissonance and biting sarcasm.


Here’s a brainteaser for you: How many musicians does it take to ring a bell? In the case of La Campanella , four: Paganini to write it, Liszt to arrange it, Busoni to “improve” it, and Pollack to play it, which he does quite well. He also has the measure of the two contrasting Brahms intermezzos. To be honest, I was a bit dubious about this CD before listening to it, concerned mainly about the five-decades-old sound, but it turned out to be much better sonically than I expected, and the program of works is so appealing and Pollack’s playing so persuasive that I really can recommend this release without any serious reservations.


The second disc is entirely a studio production from March 2009 and once again recorded at Kultura. The program, consisting of works by only three composers—Chopin, Franck, and Rachmaninoff—is not as diverse as the earlier one. And, needless to say, the modern digital recording affords Pollack’s piano dimensionality and an uncompressed dynamic range.


Pollack, now in his 70s, remains fully in possession of a flawless technique. My sense, however, is of an artist whose musical outlook has mellowed somewhat and, in so doing, has deepened and become more probing. He is now prone to channel his earlier emotional excitability into more reflective thought. Perhaps much of this has to do with the program he chose for this recital. No less difficult technically than any of the pieces on the first CD, the works on this disc, however, with the possible exception of Chopin’s famous A?-Major Polonaise, seem to be of a darker, more serious cast, and less of the wow-’em, knock-’em-dead variety. Franck’s great Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue receives from Pollack a particularly radiant reading. Or, listen to the delicate, Debussy-like tracery he brings to Rachmaninoff’s G-Major Prelude. Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie comes across in Pollack’s hands as something more than a virtuoso showpiece in the grand romantic tradition; the composer’s introspective, manic-depressive side is also revealed.


As mixed-composer piano recitals go, this one is a real winner. You don’t have to be a Pollack partisan to enjoy this CD; it’s for everyone. Enthusiastically recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939-1942; USSR 
Date of Recording: 04/1958 
Venue:  Great Hall, Conservatory, Moscow, Russia 
Length: 15 Minutes 31 Secs. 
2.
Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; ?Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 6 Minutes 57 Secs. 
3.
Ricercare and Toccata on a theme from "Old Maid and the Thief" by Gian Carlo Menotti
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 25 in G major, Op. 79 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 8 Minutes 42 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in A minor, Op. 28 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907/1917; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/1958 
Venue:  Great Hall, Conservatory, Moscow, Russia 
Length: 6 Minutes 49 Secs. 
6.
Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
7.
Nocturne for Piano in C sharp minor, B 49 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830 
Date of Recording: 04/1958 
Venue:  Great Hall, Conservatory, Moscow, Russia 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: The attribution of this composition to Chopin is doubtful. 
8.
Fantasies (7) for Piano, Op. 116: no 4, Intermezzo in E major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
9.
Pieces (4) for Piano, Op. 119: no 3, Intermezzo in C major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 1 Minutes 19 Secs. 
10.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in B minor, Op. 7 "La Campanella": 3rd movement, Rondo à la clochette by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni 
11.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Daniel Pollack (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
Venue:  Melodiya Recording House Studios, Moscow 
Length: 8 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Ferruccio Busoni 

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