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Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3; Schnittke: Concerto For Piano & Strings

Shostakovich / Prokofiev / Pitrenas
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Doron Music   Catalog #: 3061   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichSergei ProkofievAlfred Schnittke
Performer:  Műza Rubackyté
Conductor:  Stefan LanoMichael ChristiModestas Pitrenas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 1. SCHNITTKE Concerto for Piano and Strings 2. SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Concerto No. 2 3 Mûza Rubackyté (pn); 1 Michaël Christie, cond; 2 Modestas Pitrénas, cond; 3 Stefan Read more Lano, cond; 1,3 Lithuanian Natl SO; 2 Lithuanian Natl CO DORON 3061 (70:20) Live: 1 2/18/1997, 2 9/25/2010, 3 12/4/2007

These concertos, especially the Prokofiev and Shostakovich, offer opportunities for nose-thumbing; but whatever else you can say about these imposing and often iconoclastic performances, you could hardly say that they play up the music’s irony. The sobriety is especially striking in the Shostakovich. There’s plenty of rhythmic energy in the opening measures, and there’s plenty of sweetness to the music’s lyricism (especially in the second movement). But Rubackyté finds more in common with the more or less contemporary First Cello Concerto than most pianists do. There’s little froth, little sunshine, little youthfulness: the middle movement is forlorn, rather than merely pensive or introspective; and the Finale, with some biting accents, has a weighty desperation. Rarely has this work sounded more heroic in its striving.

She’s similarly attentive to the shadows of the Prokofiev. This is a richly characterized account, unusually evocative in the more mysterious passages, unusually assertive in the more energetic music. Still, for all the heightened contrast, gravity prevails: in Rubacktyké’s hands, the opening sounds more mournful than usual, and she plays up the dark corners in the Finale. Certainly, there’s little of the bad-boy skittishness we hear in the composer’s own playful recording. As for the Schnittke, it’s a much more serious work to begin with, but Rubacktyké once again seeks to heighten the gloom—the nightmarishness of the waltz, the grim obsessiveness of the Alberti basses.

In sum, as we’ve come to expect from this stellar artist, these are performances with a strong point of view. And, as we’ve also come to expect, her perspective is presented with technical panache, formal concentration, and a stunning tonal imagination, whether she is singing out the nostalgia of the Shostakovich’s middle movement or smacking at the clusters of the Schnittke. Some sour woodwinds toward the beginning of the Prokofiev aside, the orchestral support is sturdy; and while the sound won’t win any awards, it never gets in the way of our pleasure. Strongly recommended.

FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 102 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Műza Rubackyté (Piano)
Conductor:  Stefan Lano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USSR 
Date of Recording: 12/04/2007 
Venue:  Vilnius Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius, Lith 
Length: 20 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 26 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Műza Rubackyté (Piano)
Conductor:  Michael Christi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1921; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/18/1997 
Venue:  Vilnius Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius, Lith 
Length: 28 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano and Strings by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Műza Rubackyté (Piano)
Conductor:  Modestas Pitrenas
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; USSR 
Date of Recording: 09/25/2010 
Venue:  Vilnius Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius, Lith 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 

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