It is hard to believe that Shostakovich composed his First Piano Concerto after his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. It seemed that with this tragic work the composer’s youth had disappeared forever and that he would never return to the eccentric style of his early compositions. But some time needed to pass, during which he wrote parodic and humorous pieces, before his series of grand and revelatory works, in particular his Fourth Symphony (1936). The First Piano Concerto stands in the middle of this intervening series of works.
For Shostakovich this was undoubtedly an experimental score. Compared to compositions by the leading exponents of musical neo-classicism at the time (Stravinsky, Hindemith), it does not appear too radical, but it reaches some sort of extreme as far as Shostakovich’s talents and tastes are concerned. Let us start with the orchestral components: strings, piano and trumpet solos. Of course, this is neo-baroque in the spirit of the aforementioned Hindemith. However, there is in Shostakovich something unique that departs from all contemporary baroque stylisation.
Total time: 01:13:32
Jonathan Stokes, Neil Hutchinson
|Original Recording Format|
Jonathan Stokes, vladmir Ryabenko
Concert Hall of the mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||March 26, 2015|
The immediate realization you have upon listening to this CD is that Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev are very much of one mind as to where to go with this music, and more importantly, perfectly matched for sonority.
Denis Matsuev’s account of the Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings leaves one breathless in admiration for his formidable technique and the accuracy of his playing … All three works are performed by the gifted Russian virtuoso Denis Matsuev accompanied by the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev whose affinity with the music of both composers is clearly evident in the performances on this disc … There is no doubt that this recording will further enhance the growing reputation of this outstanding Russian virtuoso. Definitely recommended.
‘Matsuev remains a dazzling soloist’
‘We particularly admire the combination of strength and variety of colour which perfectly suits these concertos … the pianist twirls the notes into constant musical fireworks … One of the most impressive recordings in recent years’
Clef du Mois
BBC Music Magazine
Recording ‘among the best currently available … superb playing … these performances are exceptional’
‘a disc well worth having’
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