Piano Concerto No. 1
Viktoria Postnikova (piano)
Vienna SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, rec 1983
Ruggiero Ricci (violin)
Netherlands Radio SO/Jean Fournet, rec 1975
ELOQUENCE 467 404 2
Commentary on the Eloquence series
Two mainstays of the repertoire provide symmetry, value and balance in this
disc. Both works are very well known. The Decca provenance of each version
branches out in the case of the Ricci to Decca's hi-fi Phase Four line (1975)
and for the Postnikova to Decca's FFRR premium range (1983).
Both soloists stand to one side of the celebrity circuit. The recordings
are big and bold, wide-stage and exciting. The vehement fist-shaking impact
of the horns at the start of the piano concerto says it all. This is vivid
music-making by characters rather than production-line technicians. The beaming
geniality of Rozhdestvensky does not undermine the grip and excitement of
the piano concerto which is given a studied breadth which some critics consider
saps the impetuous charge of the music. Certainly this is not rent-a-performance
from Postnikova (Rozhdestvensky's wife) and you may well want another version
alongside this one. However this is much better than good: idiosyncratic,
strong and florid.
The Violin Concerto is distinguished by agreeably spotlit work for the woodwind
and a soloist whose quick vibrato (no Boris Belkin he!) and close-up hoarse
tone leaves you dry mouthed at the end of an adrenalin-wave performance.
The orchestra and soloist seem to compete in the velocity of the outer movements.
There is a measure of coarseness in the first movement and I wondered several
times about unanimity and coordination between soloist and orchestra. This
is a demerit though one of gaudy character rather than anonymous 'perfection'.
Not to all tastes but a challenging counterbalance to convention. A less
equivocal choice would be Oistrakh on BMG-Melodiya or at the other extreme
the gloriously non-PC version by Campoli on Beulah.