Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Prťalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallť
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977)
Complete Piano Concertos
No.1 op.12 (1919-20) [18:46], No.2 op.26 (1923) [17:36], No.3 op.48 (1931-32) [18:03], No.4 (Fantaisie) op.78 (1947) [28:55], No.5 op.96 (1963) [24:00], No.6 op.99 (1965) [25:50]
Noriko Ogawa (piano)
Singapore Symphony Orchestra/Lan Shui
rec. January 1999, Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore
BRILLIANT 9232 [54:27 + 79:24]

Experience Classicsonline

Tcherepnins have been drifting in and out of the musical scene for at least three generations, often more as walk-ons in more famous composersí biographies than for themselves. None has really impinged so far on the general musical consciousness that the average concert-goer could tell you which was which. The one here is the one youíre most likely to have encountered. A prominent figure among the modernists working in Paris in the 1920s, his First Symphony caused a furore on account of its percussion-only scherzo. He was sufficiently well-known back then for the 9-note scale he often employed to be named the ďTcherepnin-scaleĒ. Later he was attracted to Oriental music, particularly that of China. This influence is to be heard in the fourth concerto. In late years he dabbled with pre-recorded tapes. A fine pianist, a disc of him playing concertos 2 and 5 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Rafael Kubelik was issued by DG in late 1968. Despite a welcoming review from Edward Greenfield in Gramophone it evidently didnít sell particularly well, since the remaining four concertos didnít follow. However, Kubelik must have been impressed, as he conducted the belated premiŤre of the sixth in 1972, played by Margrit Weber.

The first is in a single movement, though falling into distinct sections. It opens with a thudding ostinato recalling Ė probably coincidentally Ė Sibeliusís En Saga, adulterated with braying orchestration that heralds Khachaturianís Sabre Dance. Indeed, in its insistence it even looks ahead to Philip Glass, anticipating as it does the minimalist tendency to labour an idea, even a good one, far longer than necessary. Still, itís a striking beginning. When the piano enters, the sound world seems less individual, almost nondescript in its modernized romanticism. No blame for this can be attached to Noriko Ogawa, who is throughout brilliant, colourful, rhythmical and poetic when the opportunity arises. We spend the rest of the concerto waiting for that beginning to come back again.

The second is also in a single movement. It enlarges the view without expanding the method. The third, in two movements, is more consistent in that there is no longer a disparity between the orchestral and the piano writing. On the other hand, it is becoming clear that musical development, for Tcherepnin, simply means sticking in a rut for a while, then going on to another rut and sticking in that. In spite of the orchestral colour range, the effect of this concerto is drab.

The fourth is the Chinese-inspired one. Its three movements are entitled Eastern Chamber Dream, Yan Kuei Feiís Love Sacrifice and Road to Yunnan. How Chinese it really is Iím not qualified to say. Itís the sort of sound and tone Hollywood composers use when illustrating an epic Chinese subject, but in view of the date, perhaps Tcherepnin was their inspiration. The opening has genuine majesty and breadth. As is Tcherepninís wont he doesnít do much except just go on until itís time to do something else, but at least itís a rut with a view. A magnificent view at the end, too, when the idea comes back with a rolling, over-the-top splendour. What happens in-between is variable, and thereís a lot of it. The piano has a surprisingly limited role here, rippling and cascading around but often more a part of the orchestra.

The next movement shows that virtually any sequence of notes, if allotted to the cor anglais and played as soulfully as possible on that instrument, will take on the semblance of a beautiful melody. This is actually a rather attractive movement, again with the piano offering a twittering commentary rather than a leading role. I kept thinking that at last Ogawa would get to play the tune, which she would certainly have done very beautifully, but she never does. She leads the way along the Road to Yunnan, though, in a very sprightly, good-humoured fashion. Perhaps because itís about a road, this is the one movement in all the concertos where Tcherepninís music seems to offer linear progress, rather than rut-by-rut.

The Chinese influence disappears in the last two concertos, but Iím not quite sure what this leaves. Nothing very much to my ears. In spite of an unfailingly inventive range of orchestral sound I find it difficult to hear much music in them. A few of the ruts start promisingly but that makes it all the more frustrating when they fail to deliver. Both pianist and conductor try hard to persuade us thereís real melody in the hushed exchanges of the slow movements but I fear theyíre flogging a dead horse.

Contrary to what some may believe, it gives me no pleasure to virtually trash a substantial corpus of work. Having dedicated much of my life to taking up the cudgels on behalf of little-known composers, I know how irritating it can be when a critic comes along who maybe hasnít heard a note of that composer before, and loftily dismisses him. But there it is. All I can say is that, probably the unusual vistas of the fourth concerto will tempt me back sooner or later and, having got the discs out, Iíll probably hear 1 and 2 again. Unless these sound a whole lot better than before I think Iíll pass on the other three.

I can only repeat that I am sure it is no fault of the performers, though in truth Iíve never heard the two set down by the composer. A cycle was also recorded by Murray McLachlan, originally for Olympia (Olympia OCD439 (2, 3, 6), November 1994; OCD 440 (1, 4, 5), December 1995), later partially reissued by Forum. The conductor Lan Shui does an excellent job and my already high admiration for Ogawa Ė her complete Debussy is probably the best available overall Ė is only reinforced. To have set down the lot in one month is remarkable Ė it would have been so much easier to record them separately on a learn-one-forget-one basis over a year or two. What a thankless task, though. Even if she really loves them, I wonder how often sheís been engaged to play one in concert, before or since. Or is Tcherepnin popular in Japan?

The recording, originally by BIS, is outstanding. So there, if youíre interested, the jobís been done as well as it possibly could. If you want to hear Ogawa, get her Debussy first (Bis Vols, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Christopher Howell

see also review of the original BIS release by Rob Barnett

Footnote
In my review of the complete Tcherepnin Piano Concertos played by Noriko Ogawa and reissued on Brilliant, I wrote, on the basis of Brilliant's documentation, which states that all six were recorded in December 1999: "To have set down the lot in one month is remarkable – it would have been so much easier to record them separately on a learn-one-forget-one basis over a year or two".
However, from the header to Rob Barnett's review of the original BIS issue, I now learn they were set down as follows:
Concertos 5 & 6: December 1999
Concertos 2 & 4: January, February, August 2001
Concertos 1 & 3: January, November 2002
I don't doubt that this is the correct information and I now have to withdraw my amazement at Ogawa's having set them all down in a single month. This doesn't affect my admiration for her playing, of course.
I must say this was pretty careless of Brilliant, and a clear case where no information at all would have been preferable to misleading information
Chris Howell


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






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.