Despite a sonic soundstage that places the orchestra and soloist in a position akin to viewing celestial beings from the wrong end of a telescope, these are simply fabulous performances. It's good to have the Third Concerto in its conjectural three-movement manifestation (Tchaikovsky completed a first movement, which consigned it to a stand-alone composition, while Tanyev reconstructed a second and third movement from outlines Tchaikovsky had sketched for an ultimately rejected symphony), especially in a reading full of enough sweep and passion to outdistance Peter Donohoe's fine EMI traversal. Konstantin Scherbakov's sparkling, assured fingerwork in the cadenzas alone is a selling point--and the First concerto is a keeper, no doubt aboutRead more it! It's fast, it's fluid, and it's utterly without airs, mannerisms, and pretentions.
Unlike other pianists who milk the lyrical unaccompanied sections out of shape, or dive into the octave sequences as if they were sporting events, Scherbakov's organic feeling for tempo relationships and musicianly virtuosity binds everything together, and the Russian Philharmonic musicians play their hearts out under Dmitry Yablonsky's uplifting direction. For superior sound, sophisticated orchestral execution, and soloistic individuality, it's worth spending the extra cost for Argerich/Abbado (DG) or Volodos/Ozawa (Sony). But give this release a try, and don't be surprised if you return to it more often than you've anticipated. [6/9/2004]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Performer:
Konstantin Scherbakov (Piano)
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: Russia Notes: Composition written: Russia (1874 - 1875).
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