SCRIABIN: Symphony No. 1 in E, Op. 26. Symphony No. 2 in C
minor, Op 29.
SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54. MENDELSSOHN: The
Fair Melussina Overture, Op. 32. Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor,
Concerto No. 2 in G, Op. 44 (original version). KHACHATURIAN: Piano
Concerto in D flat, Op. 38.
Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony continue their Scriabin cycle with this splendid release of the first two symphonies Like others in the series, recordings, these were made in London's Barbican Hall, Symphony No. 1 in March and Symphony No. 2 in April 2014. A few months ago, this site mentioned Gergiev's LSO issue of Symphonies 3 and 4 (REVIEW) There are countless other recordings of this music—check CD index—and don't overlook the recent Decca 18-disk set of all of Scriabin's works in outstanding performances (REVIEW). This new SACD maintains the high level of previous issues Gergiev is an ideal conductor for this exotic repertory and he lingers lovingly over the rich phrases and sonorities. The soloists are perfect. Texts for Symphony No. 1 are provided in Russian with English translation. Excellent audio, surprisingly resonant for Barbican all.
Argentinian-born Ingrid Fliter is recognized for her performances of Chopin and already has made outstanding recordings of both of his concertos. Now we have the opportunity to hear in two more familiar works,, the Schumann concerto and Mendelssohn's Concerto No. 1. She plays both superbly, the Mendelssohn taken at a break-neck tempo. Excellent in every way. The only odd feature about this release is that it includes Mendelssohn's Fair Melusina Overture? Perhaps it was included simply to provide more playing time for this full-price issue? Easily producers could instead have included solo piano works by either composer to fill out the SACD.
Chinese pianist Xiayin Wang, is an incredible virtuoso who already has to her credit a number of superb recordings for Chandos. Her SACD of American Piano Concertos was mentioned on this site in January 2014 (REVIEW). Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 2 is on a larger scale than his first concerto. It includes a massive cadenza in the first movement (here tracked separately), and in this recording we hear the original version of the second movement which has extended solos for violin and cello. Wang plays is with incredible virtuosity,, matching recordings by Denis Matsuev and Mikhail Pletnev She also brings new insight into the Khatchaturian concerto, an odd work in many ways that became known in the U.S. when William Kapell pioneered it with Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony in 1945. My favorite recording remains the wild Oscar Levant/Dimitri Mitropoulis/New York Philharmonic version, which has yet to be reissued commercially in the U.S. Wang's performance is equally exciting and, of course, much better recorded. She brings credibility to this pompous concerto. Highly entertaining! The Chandos audio is state-of-the-art, even if not particularly"surround." Highly recommended!
R.E.B. (May 2015)