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Tcherepnin: Complete Piano Concertos Nos. 1-6
Alexander Tcherepnin was the central figure in a significant Russian musical dynasty. His father Nikolai, a distinguished composer and conductor, wrote the first ballet for Diaghiliv’s Ballet Russes, and Alexanders son Ivan, and two gransdons Serge and Stefan are also composers. The young Alexander soon became a prolific composer, and became friendly with one of his father pupils, Serge Prokofiev, 8 years his senior. Prokofiev often came to the family home to play his early piano works.
As the revolution and civil war closed in on St Petersburg (Petrograd), Nikolai moved the family to Georgia. The wealth of Georgian folk music fascinated Alexander and would influence his later music. When the revolution finally reached Tblisi, the family moved to Paris. Tcherepnin’s music has been described as spontaneous, fresh and pure in style. It has also been described as a blend of the romantic traditions of Rachmaninov and Scriabin, with the satire and grotesquerie of the young Prokofiev. The 6 piano concertos span the years 1919 – 65.
The first is similar to Prokofiev’s 1st concerto. A one-movement work and a brilliant concerto debut. The 2nd concerto is a powerful work with great lyricism, whilst the 3rd is edgy, tense and displays an overtly modernistic style The 4th was inspired by Chinese folklore. No.5 was commissioned by the Berlin Festival, and was premiered in 1963. The piano part is brilliant and challenging. The 6th concerto from 1965, premiered in 1972 in Lucerne under Kubelik, is a summation of the composers work and wisdom. A large percussion section adds to the lively nature of the outer movements, framing a lushly romantic Andantino, which harks back to Rimsky’s Russian-oriental style.
“this energetically engaging music is performed with commanding vigour by Noriko Ogawa. Excellent sound, too.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****
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Tcherepnin - Complete Symphonies & Piano Concertos
Symphony No. 1 in E major, Op. 42
Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 77
Symphony No. 3 in F sharp major, Op. 83
Symphony No. 4 in E major, Op. 91
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 12
Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 26
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 48
Piano Concerto No. 4 (Fantaisie), Op. 78
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 96
Piano Concerto No. 6, Op. 99
Magna mater, Op. 41
Festmusik, Op. 45a
Symphonic March, Op. 80
Symphonic Prayer Op. 93
This boxed set includes the first complete recorded cycle of Alexander Tcherepnin’s symphonies and piano concertos, along with four shorter orchestral scores. The striking stylistic diversity within this body of work illustrates the complex evolution of Tcherepnin’s style during a half-century-long odyssey both artistic and geographic.
The recordings included in this set were originally released on single CDs, and have all received lavish praise, both for the fascinating repertoire and for the highly sympathetic performances by Singapore Symphony Orchestra under Lan Shui and for Noriko Ogawa’s interpretations. Fanfare: ‘In everything Noriko Ogawa tackles, she comes up shining: Her playing customarily blends brilliance and power in equal measure, and here again she's just as good as she has now led us to expect.’
Tcherepnin’s development can be charted throughout these four discs, from the First Piano Concerto, composed in 1919, to the works of the 1960s. In the words of Benjamin Folkman, Tcherepnin’s biographer and the compiler of the liner notes for this title, ‘what one hears is the music of a composer who is not so much reinventing himself as seeking an artistic orientation that gains in coherence by growing ever more comprehensive: a composer secure in his faith that, while the musical impulse is a universal human phenomenon, each musical work is a world unto itself.’
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