One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


alternatively Crotchet



Shura Cherkassky (piano)
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Air and Variations "The Harmonious Blacksmith" (pub.1720) [4:31]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Variations and Fugue on Theme by Handel, Op.24 (1861) [27:03]
Alban BERG (1885-1935)
Piano Sonata, Op.1 (1908) [9:42]
Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949)

15 Little Variations [6:26]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Toccata in D minor, Op.11 (1912) [4:34]
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58 (1844) [26:32]
Shura Cherkassky (piano)
BBC Studios, London, 21 April 1963 except Chopin, BBC Studios, London, 15 December 1964
BBC MUSIC BBCL 4212-2 [79:36]


I had the privilege of hearing and seeing Shura Cherkassky live in 1995 at the Cheltenham Festival, 6 July, 8 pm: yes, I still have the ticket. Even at well over 80 years of age he was playing Bartók, Berio and Lennox Berkeley, and as those Decca recital discs from the early 1990s show, his programming was almost invariably fascinating and adventurous. The luminous tone and intriguingly individual musicality is clearly audible even on this set of 1960s mono recordings, and although the treble is rather on the muffled side there is no real hesitation in recommending this as an historical document of ‘the last of the great romantics’ in his prime.

The Harmonious Blacksmith variations by Handel is a nicely played, straightforward introduction which pairs nicely with the Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Cherkassky’s subtle and sometimes less-subtle pedalling turns this work into something of a tour-de-force at times, but with quicksilver contrasts, energetically rhythmic playing and some beautifully lyrical moments it is easy to overlook any of those mannerisms which made a pianist friend of mine once say, “you can’t play it like that, you just can’t…”

Cherkassky’s accounts of the Berg Sonata Op.1 became something akin to legendary, and with this recording one can understand why. His poetic but unfussy approach emphasises the introvert, intimate side of the piece, and makes it sound like an extended improvisation. Nikos Skalkottas is a new name to me, but it seems he wrote over 150 works in his tragically short life. The 15 Little Variations are attractive miniatures despite having an angularly serial feel, but with some jazzy chords and rhythms in which Cherkassky clearly revels. Prokofiev’s Toccata has a springy, jumping quality in Cherkassky’s hands in this session.

There is little difference in the sound quality with the slightly later recording of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.3. One of Chopin’s musically most challenging scores for piano, Cherkassky wends his way effortlessly through the twists and turns in the piece, musing thoughtfully, facing up to danger and falling in love wherever the music so takes him. The extended Largo is the high point of this work, with the ambulatory lines flowing with eloquent restraint. If you like the Dinu Lipatti ‘sound’ then you will almost certainly appreciate Cherkassky in this music, even if his overall view is more anarchic.

This is an intriguing document: not all things to all people, but certainly showing a great pianist at work on some significant repertoire at the mid point of a vastly long career. With a few fluffs and imperfections the overall impression is that of a live recital, and that of one not so very different from the 80+ artist whose repertoire had become such a vast fund of the new and the weird and wonderful that his musicianship seemed forever youthful.

Dominy Clements


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

August 2022

Louis Caix d'Hervelois

orchestral songs



String Quartets

la folia



July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.