Shostakovich: Piano Concertos, Fantastic Dances / Shostakovich, Cluytens

Release Date: 1/1/2013
Catalog Number: 626482
Conductor: André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble: ORTF National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Shostakovich pursued a promising career as a pianist before he decided to concentrate on composing. He played Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin and other great romantic composers on the concert platform, and also took part in the first Russian performance of Stravinsky's Les noces. After 1930 he played only his own works in public, and recorded a good many of them in Russia. These include a slightly earlier version of the Second Concerto, conducted by Alexander Gauk, and a live account of the earlier concerto, which features a risably poor trumpet soloist. The French recordings on this disc are more satisfactory, in that they offer better accompaniments and improved soundquality. Cluytens and the French Radio National Orchestra support the great composer in a highly sympathetic, adroit fashion and in the First Concerto Ludovic Vaillant gives a brilliant account of the solo trumpet part.

Normally one would expect 1958 recordings to exist in stereo, but French Columbia were a little behind the times, and did not use stereo regularly until 1959. The mono versions are very satisfactory, however. In spite of the fact Shostakovich was just starting to be troubled by an illness which incapacitated him in later years, his performances of both concertos are quite brilliant. Photographs, and other sources, seem to suggest that he was a shy, rather withdrawn personality, but he responds very readily to the somewhat pert, Outgoing nature of both works, and his playing has an abundance of wit and flair. Rhythms are extremely clear-cut, tempos bright and brisk and all concerned seem to be enjoying themselves. In the Fantastic Dances Shostakovich's playing is not quite so secure, but he brings out the character of these little pieces with great vividness.

His Preludes and Fugues inhabit a much more serious world, and here one may admire the composer's absorbed, very dedicated playing. He builds and shapes each piece in masterly Fashion— the long No. 24, in particular, is held together with great skill. In this item, whose recording origin is not apparently known, the sound becomes a little rusty—elsewhere the piano tone is satisfactory.

-- Gramophone [4/1993]
reviewing the first CD release of these performances, EMI 54606
Works on This Recording
1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 35 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Ludovic Vaillant (Trumpet), Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Conductor: André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble: ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1933 ; USSR
2. Concerto for Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 102 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Conductor: André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble: ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1957 ; USSR
3. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 1 in C major by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
4. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 4 in E minor by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
5. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 5 in D major by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
6. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 23 in F major by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
7. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 24 in D minor by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
8. Fantastic Dances (3) for Piano, Op. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1922 ; USSR
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