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Ingenious Opposites Vol 1 - Roman Zaslavsky Plays Schumann & Liszt

Schumann / Zaslavsky
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 3002   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannFranz Liszt
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on Blu-ray Audio

SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes. LISZT Années de pèlerinage, Book II: Sonetto 104 del Petrarca, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca, Après une lecture du Dante. Transcendental Etudes: Nos. 8 and 10 Roman Zaslavsky (pn) EUROARTS Blu-ray: 2003022 CD: EA 3022 (69:29) Read more
Roman Zaslavsky is a youngish Russian-Israeli pianist; although he has a string of competition victories going back at least 15 years, this seems to be his first major commercial CD (his website also lists a live recording, taken from recitals in Porto Alegre, Brazil—available from Japan—that’s also anchored in the Symphonic Etudes ). That’s surprising: Zaslavsky has formidable fingers and a strong interpretive personality, and we should have heard more of him before now.


Not that these are superficially ingratiating performances. Zaslavsky is a fairly deliberate pianist, favoring a dark bass-centered tone and generally slowish tempos; and while he’s responsive to Schumann’s striving passion and his mood swings (try the first etude), you couldn’t exactly call this fanciful playing, even in the upbeat final etude. You probably wouldn’t call it exhibitionistic, either: While he clearly has the fingers for barn-burning, he doesn’t seem to have the temperament; and while there’s plenty of exciting playing (especially in the climaxes of the Dante Sonata ), the disc doesn’t flaunt virtuoso dazzle. Nor does the music really sound spontaneous: Even when the rubato is extreme—try the second half of the second Etude or Liszt’s Sonetto 104 —it can sound carefully calculated.


Rather, the performances are thoughtful: steady rather than quicksilver, illuminating rather than brilliant. You may, in spots, find yourself impatient with his earnestness: While it’s hard not to admire the evenness of his trills, Schumann’s eighth Etude is almost deadly in its drawn-out pace; he doesn’t always have what it takes to keep the momentum up in the slower passages of the Dante Sonata ; and his tendency to emphasize points of arrival is sometimes exaggerated. Still, you’ll also find yourself consistently rewarded by his imaginative voicing, his glorious legato, his restrained but subtle sense of color (listen to the way Sonetto 123 dies away), and his intense conviction.


As for the production: This disc has the title Ingenious Opposites: Volume I, and the program notes, in the form of a conversation between Gerda Borkamp and the pianist, spend a lot of time trying to justify the combination of Schumann and Liszt. But it hardly needs justification, and the argument is often a bit confusing anyway. In terms of audio: This is EuroArts’ first Blu-ray audio disc, and, like 2L, they’ve provided multiple options.The Blu-ray box offers a Blu-ray with three alternatives in 24/96khz (a 5.1 version and two stereo mixes), as well as a standard CD; the CD can also be purchased separately, as, we’re told, can a high-resolution download (although I couldn’t find that option on the EuroArts website). I did most of my listening to the 5.1 tracks, which sounded timbrally true and spatially realistic; sampling of the other options (except for the download) showed the same expertise. All in all, an impressive semi-debut. I look forward to the next volume.


FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz

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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonic Etudes for Piano, Op. 13 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837/1852; Germany 
2.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 8, Wilde Jagd by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
3.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 10 in F minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
4.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 7, Après une lecture du Dante by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
5.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 6, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
6.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 5, Sonetto 104 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Roman Zaslavsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 

Sound Samples

Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Thema: Andante
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 1: Un poco piu vivo
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 2: Espressivo
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 3: Vivace
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 4
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 5: Scherzando
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 6: Agitato
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 7: Allegro molto
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 8: Sempre marcatissimo
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 9: Presto possibile
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 10: Sempre con energia
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 11: Con espressione
Etudes symphoniques (Symphonic Etudes), Op. 13: Etude 12: Finale: Allegro brillante
Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, S161/R10b: No. 5. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Sonnet 104 of Petrarch)
Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, S161/R10b: No. 6. Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (Sonnet 123 of Petrarch)
Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, S161/R10b: No. 7. Apres une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi una sonata (After Reading Dante)
12 Etudes d'execution transcendante, S139/R2b: No. 8 in C minor, "Wilde Jagd"
12 Etudes d'execution transcendante, S139/R2b: No. 10 in F minor, "Appassionata"

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