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Chopin: Piano Concerto No 2, Etc; Respighi / Cherkassky, Kempe


Release Date: 07/19/2005 
Label:  Profil   Catalog #: 4015   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinOttorino Respighi
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Even without the Chopin Fantasy you get 53 minutes' worth of inspired music making--never mind that Respighi's Pines of Rome and Chopin's F minor concerto make for a pretty bizarre coupling."

The performances reissued here stem from 1964/66 sessions issued by Reader's Digest, with subsequent CD incarnations on independent labels. Chopin's F minor concerto finds the chronically unpredictable piano soloist Shura Cherkassky on good behavior. He pursues a steady and largely straightforward course, taking much of Chopin's decorative writing in tempo rather than stretching it out, making expressive points with liberal doses of tone color and by adding numerous diminuendos and subito pianos (what old-timers used to
Read more call "reverse accents") to the score. Rudolf Kempe inspires the Royal Philharmonic principals to play like gods, putting heart and soul into an accompaniment that frequently goes for nothing.

By contrast, Cherkassky stands the F minor Fantasy's drama on its head, reining in the climaxes by pulling the volume down and avoiding the sustain pedal when it's clearly called for, as well as hustling certain slower passages along (the hollow, wobbly engineering doesn't help). I prefer Cherkassky's similarly detailed yet weightier, more spacious 1973 BBC performance once available on Decca, and his more conventional early-1950s EMI traversal reissued in Philips' Great Pianists series.

With little pause to breathe, the Fantasy dovetails into Kempe's vividly detailed and stunningly engineered Pines of Rome. Both conductor and orchestra play Respighi's showy orchestration to the hilt, from the pugnacious trumpet brays in Pini di Villa Borghese to the carefully contoured dynamic buildup in the final movement (no holding back on the tam-tam!). Even without the Chopin Fantasy you get 53 minutes' worth of inspired music making--never mind that Respighi's Pines of Rome and Chopin's F minor concerto make for a pretty bizarre coupling.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Poland 
Date of Recording: 1964-1965 
2.
Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Shura Cherkassky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1964-1965 
3.
Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1964-1965 

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