Symphony-Concerto in E minor, Op. 125 (1938-52) [36:51]
Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119 (1949) [24:50] Han-Na Chang
London Symphony Orchestra/Antonio Pappano (conductor; piano)
rec. March 2002, No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London EMI CLASSICS 5181892
This almost universally praised disc has now been repackaged Ė
and the main work correctly renamed - at superbudget price, making
a superb bargain for anyone who didnít catch it first time around.
Itís easy to hear why the critics, including these columns (see
were fulsome in their admiration. Han-Na Chang was the youngest
cellist to tackle the mature Symphony-Concerto on disc,
and the results were pretty sensational. It can seem a sprawling,
somewhat unwieldy work in the wrong hands, but Chang manages a
near ideal blend of youthful impetuosity - without ever sounding
rushed - allied to a (to my ears) flawless technique which makes
light of Prokofievís demands. Coaxed and supported beautifully
by Pappano and an on-form London Symphony Orchestra, she soars
majestically in the many lyrical passages whilst clearly enjoying
the pyrotechnics of the lightning-fast scherzo. Here, Pappanoís
speeds could have got everyone into trouble; instead, itís a sensational
helter-skelter ride that thrills to the core. He even gets the
brass to blaze out with an authentic Russian wobble at 6:05
(tr.2), bringing all those old Melodiya recordings to mind.
always stuck by the Chandos disc of this piece from player-scholar
Alexander Ivashkin, ably supported by the Russian State Orchestra
under Valeri Polyansky, but going back to it now, it seems stodgy
and rather unfocused overall, though Ivashkinís playing is resonant
and deeply felt. The Chandos recording from Moscow doesnít help, sounding cloudy and
resonant against the demonstration quality EMI sound from Abbey Road.
coupling of another late work, the more familiar Cello Sonata,
makes good planning sense, ands whilst not as immediately colourful
as the Concerto, itís full of typical Prokofiev touches. The
andante grave opening is brooding and intense; thereís
an abundance of lyrical lines throughout as well as plenty of
moto perpetuo rhythms to keep the excitement levels up.
I had no comparisons to hand, but canít imagine a more deeply
felt or superbly executed performance than this. Changís playing
is once again taut and ardent, and Pappanoís accompaniment sounds
authentically weighty and grand.
is poor, as with so many superbudget reissues, but if you like
this composerís music, this really is not to be missed at this
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
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to
which you refer.