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Piano concerto No 1 in B flat minor by Peter…

Piano concerto No 1 in B flat minor

by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

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Peter Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

[1] I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito
[2] II. Andantino semplice
[3] III. Allegro con fuoco

Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915)
Four Pieces, Op. 51
[4] Fragilité (Allegretto)
[5] Prélude (Lugubre)
[6] Poème ailé
[7] Danse languide
[8] Etude in C sharp minor, Op. 42 No. 5 (1903)

Yevgeny Kissin, piano
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan

Recorded: December 1988, Philharmonie, Berlin (Live).

Deutsche Grammophon, 1989. TT 52'33. Liner notes by John Warrack.


This is the same performance of Tchaikovsky’s concerto that has been released on DVD. Certainly, it is better experienced on video (including the sound). There may be minor differences, for instance because it’s easier to incorporate material from rehearsals in the audio version, but I don’t consider this a fruitful field of comparative listening. It is the same interpretation, and a fine one too. Karajan and Kissin take full ten minutes longer than Horowitz and Toscanini did 35–40 years ago, but the music doesn’t seem to suffer from that elongation. On the whole, I agree with Harold Schonberg that the modern fashion of slowing down is harmful rather than beneficial, but there are occasional exceptions when it does produce, if not better performances, at least equally valid interpretations. The brief Scriabin pieces, altogether some ten minutes, were apparently recorded at the same time, not as encores but probably while Kissin warmed up his fingers. It is rather awe-inspiring that he did so with the “murderous” (Schonberg again) Etude Op. 42 No. 5. John Warrack is suitably knowledgeable about Tchaikovsky to provide expert liner notes. So he does. ( )
1 vote Waldstein | May 21, 2016 |
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