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Shostakovich’s energetic piano concertos feature striking and attractive themes, with sudden changes of mood between the burlesque and haunting, perfectly captured in these live recordings with pianist Martin Helmchen and the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski. The Piano Quintet displays perhaps an even greater range of styles within a work of unusual purity written under the looming shadow of war.
Martin Helmchen is a former member of the BBC New Generation Artist Scheme (2005-2007) and was the 2001 winner of the Clara Haskill Competition.
Dmitry Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 35
I. Allegro moderato
IV. Allegro con brio
Dmitry Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102
Dmitry Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57
I. Prelude: Lento
II. Fugue: Adagio
III. Scherzo: Allegretto
IV. Intermezzo: Lento
V. Finale: Allegretto
20th March 2011
“As if to avoid shining too much limelight on the individual – hard in a concerto, by its show-off nature, but no doubt advisable in Soviet years – Shostakovich gives piano and orchestra well-balanced dialogue in two works for the medium, captured with nimble energy by fine young soloist Martin Helmchen and the LPO in this live recording.”
10th April 2011
“Helmchen proves a deft interpreter of both, aided by Jurowski at his most engaging; and the outstanding performance of the weightier Piano Quintet (1940), studio-recorded with members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, makes this a rare means of acquiring all three works on one CD.”
“Helmchen gives a delightfully unaffected, affectionate and note-perfect account [of the Second Concerto], the orchestra bringing out militaristic and even nightmarish aspects. There is a real fizz to the outer movements ...Helmchen and the musicians from the LPO...give a full-on passionate relay of the first movement [of the Quintet], a blanched one of the second that seamlessly rises in intensity with real eloquence and conviction.”
“Helmchen shows himself adept in all aspects of No. 1's quirky humour and satirical modernism, No. 2's playful high spirits and - in the famous Andante - a nostalgic romanticism Rachmaninov might have been proud of...What makes this disc more special is a truly superb account of Shostakovich's Piano Quintet...this is one of the most impressive performances of the work that I've heard in recent years.”
“Helmchen's mission seems to be to strip away layers of learnt understanding around these often performed works - looking afresh at the material itself - which works well for the Quintet and Second Concerto”
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