Notes and Editorial Reviews
For a less caustic, more ample-toned, and softer-edged set of Shostakovich Op. 34 Preludes than we usually hear, check out Konstantin Scherbakov. His performances contain many beautiful things. No. 2's whimsical scales and runs magically glide over the bar lines, while No. 9 and No. 12's whirling patterns are impressively controlled and supple--and the pianist articulates the marcato/legato interplay in No. 11 and No. 21 to perfection.
My criticism concerns Scherbakov's arch rubato within certain lyrical pieces. His little holdbacks and gratuitous ritards in No. 8, for example, undermine the effect of the composer's indicated ritards, which the pianist barely observes anyway. And a few exposed wrong notes easily could
have been corrected (the E-flat in No. 5, measure 14). Such blemishes, however, do not detract from Scherbakov's compelling pianism.
All the virtues Scherbakov brings to the Preludes equally apply to the composer's gnarly Aphorisms cycle and youthful Three Fantastic Dances. The pianist also sails through the First Sonata's unrelenting polytextural thickets and age-of-steel dissonances with maximum power and minimum struggle. Eleanor Thomason's superb engineering yields one of the finest sounding solo piano discs Naxos has produced.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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