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This is the seventh Shura Cherkassky release to appear on BBC Legends and follows a succession of very well reviewed and much sought after broadcasts made by this wonderfully individual pianist.
The recital from London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 November 1970 in atmospheric stereo features a number of works which are very rare for this artist such as the Schubert Sonata D.959 which he recorded for the World Record Club in 1960 and has never been issued since.
The Tchaikovsky arr: Rachmaninov: Cradle Song in A flat minor Op. 16 No.1 is new to Cherkassky's discography.
Others such as Mendelssohn's Andante and Rondo Capriccioso in E Op.14, and Schumann arr. Tausig: Der Contrabandiste are rare additions to his recorded legacy.
Beautiful remastering by Paul Baily.
Felix Mendelssohn: Rondo capriccioso in E major, Op. 14
Rondo capriccioso in E major, Op. 14
Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major, D. 959
III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace - Trio: Un poco piu lento
IV. Rondo: Allegretto
Robert Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9
No. 1. Preambule
No. 2. Pierrot
No. 3. Arlequin
No. 4. Valse noble
No. 5. Eusebius
No. 6. Florestan
No. 7. Coquette
No. 8. Replique
No. 9. Papillons
No. 10. ASCH - SCHA (Lettres dansantes)
No. 11. Chiarina
No. 12. Chopin
No. 13. Estrella
No. 14. Reconnaissance
No. 15. Pantalon et Colombine
No. 16. Valse allemande
No. 17. Intermezzo: Paganini
No. 18. Aveu
No. 19. Promenade
No. 20. Pause
No. 21. Marche des Davidsbundler contre les Philistins
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: 6 Romances, Op. 16: No. 1. Cradle Song (arr. S. Rachmaninov)
6 Romances, Op. 16: No. 1. Cradle Song (arr. S. Rachmaninov)
Robert Schumann: Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. 74: No. 10. Der Kontrabandiste (arr. C. Tausig)
Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. 74: No. 10. Der Kontrabandiste (arr. C. Tausig)
“A more perfect rendition of Mendelssohn's Andante and Rondo capriccioso you are unlikely ever to hear, deftly executed with a bewitching feather-light delicacy. Carnaval, too, for all its idiosyncratic moments, offers a masterclass in colouring and touch - who else can produce such a ravishing pianissimo or make an apparent crescendo and decrescendo on a single note?”
“…Cherkassky's wonderful tone and sensitivity to colour, nuance and atmosphere makes the Schubert the high point of the disc.”
“The live Queen Elizabeth Hall recital opens with quintessential Cherkassky. A more perfect rendition of Mendelssohn's Andante and Rondo capriccioso you are unlikely ever to hear, deftly executed with a bewitching feather-light delicacy. That said, Cherkassky in heavyweight German repertoire was always less clear cut. Here he plays Schubert's late A major Sonata, a work he visited infrequently. While it is the melody rather than the drama that attracts him, it is difficult not to fall under the beguiling spell of what you are hearing. Carnaval, too, for all its idiosyncratic moments, offers a masterclass in colouring and touch – who else can produce such a ravishing pianissimo or make an apparent crescendo and decrescendo on a single note? The Rachmaninov transcription (Cherkassky at his most melancholy) is new to the pianist's official discography. First Hand's classily presented two-disc set of the complete HMV stereo recordings made in 1956 and 1958 is a treasure chest of Cherkassky rarities. Of the 20 works here, all released for the first time in stereo, 12 have never previously appeared on CD, among them the five Chopin titles and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne. While he was generally at his best in front of an audience, these studio recordings have the same vitality and spontaneity as his live performances. The Litolff Scherzo is a delicious musical soufflé while the Hungarian Rhapsody No 13 and the Faust Waltz (especially the stunning coda) are examples of pure pianistic joie de vivre. But above all – and this applies to both discs – are the sheer beauty of sound, individuality of conception and musical imagination that Cherkassky brings to whatever takes his fancy. Required listening for all students of the piano.”