SHOSSTAKOVICH: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 35.Piano Con certo
No. 2 in F. Op. 102. Waltz from String Quartet No. 2. String Quartet
BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah.": Symphony No. 2 "The Age oif Anxiety.:
RAVEL: Daphnis and Chloe.
Une barque su5 l'océan.
STRAUSS: An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64. Death and Transfiguratiuon, Op. 24.
This new Naxos Shostakovich disk is very special. It contains the two piano concertos as well as some of the composer's music for string quartet arranged for piano by the performer, Boris Giltberg. Born in Russia in 1984, he has won his share of prizes in the pianist ic world, and surely impresses here with these dazzling performances of the two concertos, ably supported by Petenko and the superb Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. The pianist, with encouragement from the compose's family, made a transcription for solo piano of String Quartet No. 8, one of Shostakovich's darkest works written during a tragic part of his life. Some say i† is autpbiographical , with a last movement of grief slowly fading away. It seems like a rather odd work to transcribe for piano, but it surely works here. Much different is the jolly sometimes ironic Waltz from Quartet No. 2. Giltberg wrote the perceptive CD notes. Audio is excellent, and this is a disk with many rewards for the listener. Competition is enormous for the two concertos, particularly the magnificent video with Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra with pianist Daniell Tttrionfi (Concerto No. 1) and Dennis Mattsuev (REVIEW).
Marin Alsop, a specialist in music of Leonard Bernstein, has several disks with the Bournemouth Symphony. With the Baltimore Symphony, of which she has been music director since 2007, she directed their acclaimed version of the Mass, and the following year, Symphony No. 3 :Kaddish." Now we have this outstanding disk coupling the first two symphonies, Jeremiah and The Age of Anxiety. These are early works of the composer, fresh and original, devoid of the pretentious scope of his last symphony, and they are presented with style. Jennifer Johnson Cano is a rich mezzo for the final movement of Symphony No. 1, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet could not be bettered in the major piano part in Anxiety. These are live recordings (without a trace of audience or applause recorded in the rich acoustics of Meyerhoff Stnphony Hall Novembet 2014 (Symphony No. 1) and September 2013. Audio is state-of-the-art. Text is provided for the Jeremiah finale. Don't miss this terrific issue!
Leonard Slatkin continues his recordings with the Lyon National Orchestra with Volume 4 featuring the complete Daphnis and Chloé. Previous issues have included many of the composer's major showpieces. The difficulty here is that Ravel's virtuoso writing requires a top-notch orchestra, and the Lyon ensemble cannot match most of the competing recordings. ¹here are dozens of versions of the complete ballet superior to what is heard here, and most of them are com[etitive sonically as well. Skip this series.
The BR Klassik Strauss disk of live performance of Strauss with Matiss Jansons and the Bavariian Radio Symphonyu, is rather puzzling.An Alpine Symphony was recorded in Munich's Philharmonia in 2016, Death and Transfioguratyion two years earlier. HJowever, both of these works are available on CD in live performances with the same conductor and the Royal Cobnfertgebouw Orchestra when he was music director of that ensemble. Death and Transfiguration m was included in the large Jansons/Concertgebouw set (REVIEW), An Alpine Symphouy on a separate SACD (REVIEW). If you already have those, you surely would not need the later ones, which are on a full-price disk.
R.E.B. (February 2017)