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Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2 / Alexander Melnikov, Teodor Currentzis

Album Summary

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Concerto for Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 102
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 134
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Concerto for Piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 35
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

One of Shostakovich's unique traits is the way he spurs the listener's imagination by appropriating different languages and using them in unexpected fashion. The result is music with two faces, sometimes sublimated by ecstasy and joie de vivre, sometimes plunged into emptiness and suffused with a death wish. Accompanied by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Teodor Currentzis, Alexander Melnikov captures this feeling admirably in the two Piano Concertos, and perhaps still more poignantly, - "with disarming sincerity and fearless directness," to quote his booklet note - alongside Isabelle Faust in the Violin Sonata Op.134.

The Arts Desk
Here, Shostakovich's 12-note melodies take on a peculiar, tonal cast, and the work's emotional trajectory is made utterly absorbing... Melnikov's approach to the Concerto no 1 makes the work a breezier, more optimistic affair than usual. He's right - despite the minor-key histrionics, this is a youthful, confident display piece, composed before the repression of the Stalin years.

The Guardian
He makes his case well. The First Concerto is all rampaging dissonances and erotic regret; the Second (1957) masks nerve-racking syncopations beneath its surface brilliance... [the sonata] a compelling performance in which logic and rhetoric combine with tremendous intensity.

BBC Music Magazine
His lightning switches of tempo and mood in the fast movement outdo most competitors for bizarrerie...Melnikov includes a searing, thrilling account of Shostakovich's late Violin Sonata, Op. 134, in which he partners the very impressive Isabelle Faust...Unhesitatingly recommended as one of the best versions of all three works currently available.

Gramophone Magazine
The hide-and-seek games between piano and orchestra in the first movement are delectable enough. But then the slow movement...to call this breathtaking would be an understatement. Starting at a whisper, Melnikov fines his sound down to the threshold of audibility and extends phrase-endings until the world seems to stand still...For me, this is Shostakovich-playing on a level of inspiration I have only heard in my dreams.

American Record Guide, July / August 2012
Shostakovich composed his piano concertos in 1933 and 1957. And though nearly a quarter century separates them, they share a familiar humorous and elegiac quality that is distinctly Shostakovic The First Concerto has a solo trumpet. Both soloists are given important musical elements and sometimes actually fight it out for prominence. The Second Concerto was composed for his son Maxim, and is wildly playful and more youthful sounding, though its central Andante is one of the most beautiful movements Shostakovich ever composed. Many recordings of these pieces have graced the classical music catalog, and here are three new releases of three Russian pianists.

Fanfare, 2nd September 2012
I've never found Melnikov's tone so pearly, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra's strings have a discipline and suavity that are second to none. If you want Romanticism with a big R in the slow movements and plenty of fixed manic grins and wild funhouse careening elsewhere, this is as good as it gets.


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Works Details

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Concerto for Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 102
  • Performer: Alexander Melnikov (Piano)
  • Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
  • Ensemble: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Running Time: 20 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1957

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 134
  • Performers: Isabelle Faust (Violin); Alexander Melnikov (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1968.
  • Running Time: 30 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1968

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Concerto for Piano no 1 in C minor, Op. 35
  • Performers: Jeroen Berwaerts (Trumpet); Alexander Melnikov (Piano)
  • Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
  • Running Time: 21 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1933