> Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978): Piano Concerto; Gerhard ROSENFELD (b.1931): Violin Concerto No. 1 [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Piano Concerto
Gerhard ROSENFELD (b.1931)
Violin Concerto No. 1 (1963)
 Mirka Pokorná (piano)
Gustav Schmahl (violin)
Dresdner Philharmonie/Horst Förster
rec. 1962 ADD
 EDEL CLASSICS 0002522 CCC [55.50]


If you have difficulty in tracking this down then contact EDEL at edelclassics@edel.com or phone them at their head office on Hamburg at 040 890 85 339 or fax 040 890 85 605.

This disc is part of EDEL's Corona reissue series. It is mined from the vaults of Berlin Classics and Eterna. While not encountered that commonly in the USA and UK the Corona series (which retails at the super-bargain end of the market) can often be found in bargain 'bins' in German classical stores.

There is no need for a great deal to be said. The essentials must include a mention that this is quite a short-playing disc. The Khachaturyan receives a spankingly good performance with Pokorná's stonily reverberant piano tone always galvanic and flighty. The performance tends towards the long epic stride rather than the hell for leather. The strings pick up an unwanted glassy glare when playing massed on high. Otherwise this is as fine a performance as you will come across especially if you have always wanted to come across a soloist and orchestra who were prepared to allow the work space to breathe. If you do not know the piece do not be put off by connoisseurs who write it off as shallow tawdry. It is tawdry but for anyone aching to find a successor to Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain, Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto and Saint-Saens' Second Piano Concerto then they must hear this. As a performance it is a brilliant and cheeky cut above the recording on Naxos. Pokorná projects a generous, gale-plied romanticism in melodramatic succession to the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto.

Then we come to the Rosenfeld about which I know nothing. There are no notes with the Corona series so all I can do is tell you about the impressions left with me by the music. It is a concise work just over twenty minutes in length. Schmahl's tone is piercing and steadily produced. The work whirls and scythes its way along, indebted somewhat to Prokofiev, but in the central largo it is towards Berg that Rosenfeld looks. In the finale there are echoes of Britten in brilliance and Schnittke in apocalypse.

Rob Barnett

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