CD: Crotchet
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Oleg Marshev in Recital

Funèrailles (‘October 1849’) (1849) [12:44]
Rapsodie espagnole S.254 (c1863) [13:03]
Etudes d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini S 141 (1838 rev 1851) – No.4 [4:42]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Waltzes Op.34: No. 1 in A-flat (1835) [5:40]; No. 2 in a minor (1831) [5:55]; No. 3 in F (1838) [2:07]
Ballade No.4 in F minor Op.52 (1842) [10:18]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Mazurka Op.25 No.3 (1898) [2:39]
Mazurkas Op.40 (1903)- No.1 in D flat major [1:39]; No.2 in F sharp minor [1:44]
Poems Op.32 - No.1 in F sharp minor [2:37]; No.2 in D major [1:34]
Preludes Op.15 (1895-96) - No.1 in A major [2:44]; No.2 in F sharp minor [1:10]; No.3 in E major [2:24]; No.4 in E major [1:09]; No.5 in C sharp minor [0:46]
Vers la flamme Op.72 (1914) [5:11]
Oleg Marshev (piano)
rec. Alsion, Sønderborg, August 2008 
Experience Classicsonline

I have to admit to a certain amount of frustration with this latest disc from Oleg Marshev. So much is fine, articulately and warmly phrased, and imaginatively, communicatively done. His Scriabin performances are in the main examples of a superior technical and colouristic mind at work, and there are times when his playing is rapturously expressive. But there are other times when the volatility of his playing endangers the musical argument and comes at too high a cost.
One thinks principally of the quartet of Chopin pieces in this respect. The Ballade begins well enough with an accomplished unveiling of the Marshev tone, which is frequently alluring and beautifully voiced. But gradually as things move through the musical spine of the work a damaging thoughtlessness seems to seep into his playing. Lines become blurred and Marshev starts to rush with unmerciful haste, losing all semblance of direction as he does so. The result is exciting, certainly, but heedless of musical architecture. The Op.34 Waltzes are somewhat better but are vitiated by an unnaturalness of rhythm. It’s a perplexing state of affairs because he can be so sensitive a player.
His also has a trio of Liszt powerhouses to parade. Funèrailles is brilliantly dispatched and shows Marshev’s virtuosic chops in their regal glory. And yet if one turns to Earl Wild – in a collection of concert recitals on Ivory Classics – we find no less technical command and a rather greater sense of paragraphal momentum. Where Marshev moves in fits and starts Wild takes the piece in one bound. This waywardness also affects the Rapsodie espagnole and it does from time to time also manifest itself in the Scriabin pieces, finely though these are played.
These however are certainly the most impressively interpreted pieces in the recital even though admirers of, say, Sofronitzky might find Marshev a little too lateral and lacking in vitality from time to time. In the main however his warmly textured approach works well on its own terms.
So, frustrating interpretatively although there’s no gainsaying Danacord’s splendid recording or the resplendent sound of the piano.
Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Patrick Lam



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