The pianist on this CD, Yulliana Avdeeva, is the winner of the Chopin piano competition in 2010. Checking the internet, you will find that the decision by the jury was controversial. Her playing was considered not to display the proper Chopin style, and too cool. I wasn't present at the competition, so I cannot write much about this. But having bought this CD, mainly because of use of old instruments, and the direction by the recently deceased icon of old music Frans Brüggen, I must say that I was totally blown away by the playing of Yulianna Avdeeva.
This pairing of concertos Nos 25 and 27, recorded with Chamber Orchestra of Europe, is Piotr Anderszewski’s third Warner Classics album of Mozart concertos. “In Mozart I tend to prefer to direct from the keyboard,” he explains, “His concertos are like chamber works … The piano is in dialogue with the orchestra, conversing and interacting all the time. The two works are very different… No 25 is very grand, complex and sophisticated; No 27, Mozart’s final piano concerto, is in a major key, but underneath it I sense an incredible sadness… It always amazes me how deep this music is.”
Saint-Saëns’s mature creative genius shines throughout these last two piano concertos, looking back over a glorious musical ancestry while at the same time opening the door to new worlds. The Fourth Piano Concerto is prescient of both his great Organ Symphony and the concertos of Rachmaninov, revealing Saint-Saëns at his most inspired and innovative. The Fifth was composed in the Egyptian temple town of Luxor, and displays a rich tapestry of exotic cultural influences from Javanese, Spanish and Middle Eastern music, as well as portrayals of chirping Nile crickets and croaking frogs, and the composer’s representation of ‘the joy of a sea crossing’.
Five Piano Concertos and the Piano Sonata No. 32, opus 111, recorded in stereo in 1962 and 1964, respectively, by Wilhelm Kempff [1895-1991] and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Ferdinand Leitner [1912-96]. The sonata, the composer’s last, is certainly more than a mere filler, from the opening hesitancy of the ‘Allegro con brio ed appassionato’ to the extended closing section of the second movement.
Janis backed by one of the greatest symphonies ever assembled (the 50's/60's Chicago Symphony under the baton of the micromanaging Fritz Reiner) put together in short a legendary and frenzied performance of the Rachmaninov Concerto No. 1. I wish I could stop there, but unfortunately this recording was coupled with a stale performance of the No. 3.
This boxed set reassembles largely analog material from existing Lyrita CDs under a new generic grouping. Dates and locations of recording sessions are not given. Lyrita seem always to have been reticent about those details. The sound is a model of its kind – Lyrita were always able to boast glorious sound. The freshly written liner-notes are by the authoritative and accessible Paul Conway and run to ten pages. These are not a simple retread of the original notes by other authors.
When I first put this disc in the player, I wondered if I would really enjoy it. I had just listened to a performance of the Tchaikovsky played by Sviatoslav Richter accompanied by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Evgeny Mravinsky. Obviously, the first characteristic was a vast improvement in the recording quality over the mono Russian recording (Leningrad, 1957). As the new disc got underway I was very pleasantly surprised, as André Watts, although not Richter, gave a very proficient and exciting reading.