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Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75)

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Shostakovich / Shchedrin - Piano Concertos

Shostakovich / Shchedrin - Piano Concertos


Shchedrin:

Piano Concerto No. 2

Shostakovich:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor for piano, trumpet & strings, Op. 35

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102


“Marc-André Hamelin is a superb advocate for all three pieces - the zip and zest of much of the writing presenting no difficulty to this extraordinary virtuoso.” Gramophone Magazine

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Hyperion - CDA67425

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Shostakovich: Music for viola & piano

Shostakovich: Music for viola & piano


Shostakovich:

Un peu triste

(after Prelude No 10) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Marche funèbre

(after Prelude No 14) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Une valse vite

(after Prelude No 15) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Une valse militaire

(after Prelude No 16) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Mélodie amoureuse

(after Prelude No 17) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Une danse ironique

(after Prelude No 18) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Finale

(after Prelude No 24) arr. Yevgeny Strakhov

Viola Sonata, Op. 147

The Gadfly (excerpts)

arr. Vadim Borisovsky


Lawrence Power (viola) & Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)

Lawrence Power makes the second of his appearances in this month’s release lists, this time with his regular pianist partner Simon Crawford-Phillips in the chamber music of Shostakovich. The centrepiece is the Viola Sonata, Shostakovich’s last completed work, premiered posthumously, on what would have been the composer’s sixty-ninth birthday. Its ravishing slow finale reworks the opening of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata—a tribute to a composer he revered.

Shostakovich the film composer also takes a bow, in the form of The Gadfly, with its famous ‘Romance’ beloved of violinists everywhere. That this works just as compellingly on the viola is triumphantly displayed in the arrangement made by Vadim Borisovsky (founding violist of the Beethoven Quartet), one of the Five Pieces he recast from Shostakovich’s original.

Shostakovich’s 24 Piano Preludes have also proved irresistible to transcribers and here we have the seven brilliantly reworked by a pupil of Borisovsky, Yevgeny Strakhov.

“Power’s exploration of the viola repertoire on disc grows ever deeper, and this is one of his most compelling recordings yet for Hyperion.” Sunday Times, 29th January 2012

“Crawford-Phillips and Power are eloquent interpreters, spare as well as generous in expressing the work's pervasive melancholy.” The Observer, 5th February 2012

“[in the Sonata] Power and Crawford-Phillips get beneath the skin of a work that, in its balance between wit and wisdom, radiance and austerity, comes across as a mysterious embrace of life and death.” Financial Times, 24th February 2012 ***

“Such is the extraordinary nature of this sonata that it does not respond to any kind of superficial treatment, and Power's performance is, on balance, the most penetrating I have heard...in the Op. 147 Sonata Power is to be preferred above his rivals: there is an 'inner' feeling to his playing (and to that of his partner) which his competitors do not quite equal” International Record Review, February 2012

“Power's performance is particularly engaging in the witty, sardonic middle movement...if not the very last word on the Sonata, this is still a finely played programme that can be recommended with confidence.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2012

“Lawrence Power and Simon Crawford-Phillips find a much greater variety of resonances in the score than is often the case. They embark on a musical narrative of epic proportions...For the most part, however, Power and Crawford-Phillips place most emphasis on the more grotesque elements of the writing, as if to suggest the composer recapturing the energetic satirical style of his earlier career.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****

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Shostakovich: Piano Music

Shostakovich: Piano Music


Shostakovich:

Fantastic Dances (3), Op. 5

Preludes for piano (24), Op. 34 (complete)

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, Op. 61


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Shostakovich: Piano Quintet & String Quartet No. 2

Shostakovich: Piano Quintet & String Quartet No. 2


Shostakovich:

String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68

Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

It is hard to envisage a more enticing prospect: Shostakovich’s densely woven String Quartet No 2 and his deceptively backward-looking Piano Quintet, performed by the stellar Takács Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin, generously notated by David Fanning, and lovingly recorded by Hyperion’s Simon Eadon and Andrew Keener team. Seventy minutes of post-Revolutionary Russian ecstasy.

“it’s hard to imagine a better performance than those given by the Takács Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin. I find their tutti playing particularly excellent; the big chordal climaxes in both works show off their absolutely peerless ensemble, and the interplay with Hamelin in the Quintet is sensitive and well-judged. These are two works that it’s definitely worth getting to know, and Hamelin and the Takács Quartet are fine ambassadors for them.” Presto Classical, 30th March 2015

“The great Soviet composer’s chamber music is new to the discography of the Takacs, arguably the world’s most versatile string quartet. Here they strike up a tingling rapport with one of Hyperion’s “house” pianists: sparks fly between the French-Canadian and the British/Hungarian string players.” Sunday Times, 19th April 2015

“As the work unfolds, you're very aware that the relationship between pianist and string quartet is one of dialogue…it's perhaps in the Intermezzo [of the Piano Quintet] that the new disc scores most highly, exquisitely withdrawn, while in the finale the ambiguity of mood is well captured.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

“The natural sheen of the playing and a true feeling of ensemble are qualities that have long been hallmarks of the Takács’s performances, and here they are combined with a haunting atmosphere...a determined rhythmic impetus and an astuteness in pointing up accents...[Hamelin] launches the first movement [of the Quintet] with a decisive thrust to which the string players respond with marked intensity.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2015 ****

“a highly engrossing experience...the Takács come to the music from a somewhat different angle to their Soviet and Russian counterparts, emphasising closer connections with Western musical traditions than is usual... Hamelin's supremely intelligent chamber music playing providing an admirable foil to the subtle textures conjured by the string players.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

30th April 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

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Hyperion - CDA67987

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Shostakovich: Piano Trios & Songs

Shostakovich: Piano Trios & Songs


Shostakovich:

Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8

Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok, Op. 127

Susan Gritton (soprano)

Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67


After sixteen years of exceptional achievement and vast critical acclaim the career paths of the members of The Florestan Trio are diverging, sadly the trio will dispand at the end of this year and this disc marks the end of their studio career.

Audiences worldwide have become accustomed to the trios quality, elegance and virtuosity. They have recorded the major works of the piano trio repertoire for Hyperion and these interpretations are frequently viewed as benchmark versions. For this final recording the trio perform an all-Shostakovich programme comprising the two piano trios and the Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok, for which the trio is joined by the glorious soprano voice of Susan Gritton.

Piano Trio No 1 was written in 1923, an astonishing achievement for a seventeen-year-old student. Piano Trio No 2, one of the composer’s greatest masterpieces, was premiered some twenty years later in 1944 and in this turbulent work we are presented with a huge array of dramatic juxtapositions. The Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok were the response to a request by Mstislav Rostropovich for repertoire he and his wife could perform together. This unusual and intimate sequence of Romances conveys the sweetness and intensity of love, threatened by intimations of darkness.

In this recording The Florestan Trio display their impeccable interpretative judgment, class and musicianship.

“Gritton cop[es] with the turbulent high-lying opening verses [of Gamayun] before shading her voice to deliver the chilling final lines...The Florestan judges its performances extremely well...The players maintain a raw, nervy quality - this is playing close to the edge...Highly recommended.” International Record Review, April 2011

“Usually heard in 19th-century repertoire, the Trio close their recording career with typical panache...There is nothing Russian about Susan Gritton’s soprano but her English colouring still lets in plenty of heat. Superb playing throughout; they will be missed.” The Times, 30th April 2011 ****

“The Florestan Trio performs with terrific presence, precision, immediacy and palpable atmosphere. They delve beneath the surface to find and project the nuances of expression that lend these works their special flavour of soul searching.” The Telegraph, 28th April 2011 *****

“Gritton sings [the Romances] beautifully, and the Florestans dig deep to reveal the secrets of this bleak and deeply moving music.” Sunday Times, 8th May 2011 ****

“perhaps the most striking aspect of their beautifully engineered performance of the Second Trio is the surprisingly fast speeds that they adopt for the outer movements and the Passacaglia...The Florestans fully capture the youthful ardour and impetuosity of the First Trio. They are in equally inspired form in the Seven Blok Romances providig mesmerising and powerfully etched accompaniments to Susan Gritton's achingly beautiful singing.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 ****/*

“In the Romances, Susan Gritton is very much part of the ensemble. The command of a constantly modulated dynamic and expressive life [sic] is admirable: and I like her singing for its true, centred tone, coloured by the Russian words and impeccably controlled.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“this is a disc we're going to be talking about for a long time. The Florestans make a watertight case that the Piano Trio No. 1 was alive already to the possibilities of abrupt jump-cuts between sincere lyricism and savage distortions, while the Second Piano Trio seems to hallucinate on its past lives...an intriguing choice of repertoire is played with meticulous cre for structural balance, the music's expressive soul and its timbral suppleness.” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 *****

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Shostakovich: Preludes & Fugues for piano (24), Op. 87 (complete)

Shostakovich: Preludes & Fugues for piano (24), Op. 87 (complete)


Nikolayeva's third and final recording of the Preludes & Fugues, Op. 87 was made in 1991.

“The recording is clear and atmospheric, and the playing has power, grandeur, character, intellectual clarity and unforced intensity” Gramophone Magazine

“Nikolayeva has made something of a speciality of recording Shostakovich's solo piano works, and this complete set of the 24 Preludes and Fugues, recorded only shortly before her death, was her third recording of them - perhaps not surprisingly, since Shostakovich originally dedicated them to her. Her affinity and intimate feeling for the Preludes and Fugues is certainly in evidence here.” David Smith, Presto Classical, May 2014

GGramophone Awards 1991

Record of the Year

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Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 1 in C Major, Op. 49, etc.

Shostakovich:

String Quartet No. 1 in C Major, Op. 49

Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57

Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67


Igor Uryash (piano)

St Petersburg String Quartet

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Shostakovich - String Quartets Nos. 11, 13 & 15

Shostakovich - String Quartets Nos. 11, 13 & 15


Shostakovich:

String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122

String Quartet No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 138

String Quartet No. 15 In E Flat Minor, Op. 144


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Shostakovich - String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3

Shostakovich - String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3


Shostakovich:

String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68

String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73


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Shostakovich - String Quartets Nos. 5, 7 & 9

Shostakovich - String Quartets Nos. 5, 7 & 9


Shostakovich:

String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 92

String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108

String Quartet No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 117


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