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

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

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 Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
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
Sound Samples & Downloads

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano Trumpet and Strings Op 35 (1933) [22.51]
Piano Concerto No. 2 Op 102 (1957) [18.51]
Piano Quintet in G minor Op 57 (1940) [34.07]
Martin Helmchen (piano), Paul Beniston (trumpet), Pieter Schoeman (violin), Vesselin Gellev (violin), Alexander Zemtsov (viola), Kristina Blaumane (cello)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski
rec. live, Royal Festival Hall, 23 April 2008 and 25 April 2009 (1-2); Henry Wood Hall, 23-25 June 2010 (Piano Quintet)
LPO-0053 [75.49]

Experience Classicsonline



 
Shostakovich was an accomplished concert pianist and wrote the first of his piano concertos as a virtuoso performance vehicle for himself. It is scored for piano, trumpet and strings. While the trumpet has an important role, it is very much subsidiary to the piano, although it assumes more prominence in the finale. The concerto has much of the biting, caustic wit of Shostakovich with the trumpet making sardonic interjections throughout.
 
The concerto recordings in this disc were taken down live in the Festival Hall over two successive years. Martin Helmchen, who is a former winner of the Clara Haskil International Piano competition, does a good job with the concertos. He adopts a hard, dry tone for this music which suits this particular composer. The opening of the first concerto is slightly slow and ponderous but both he and the orchestra pick up speed in the ensuing Allegro vivace and he remains fully on top of the difficult passage-work. Paul Beniston also does a good job with the passage work on trumpet and there is good co-ordination between both players and the orchestra.
 
Beniston dispatches the beautiful solo on muted trumpet at the end of the melancholy second movement. The short third movement has the feel of an improvisation: I thought Helmchen’s phrasing could have been slightly more nuanced and better shaped in this movement - compare Lise de la Salle’s performance. The finale goes at quite a pace with Helmchen’s navigating his way through the treacherous pyrotechnics well and Beniston blasting out trumpet fanfares. I noticed that Helmchen slowed down slightly to manage some of the awkward leaps safely which detracted a little from the momentum and high jinks. On the whole I thought this was a good performance although it didn’t quite catch fire in the same way as Bronfman or Argerich particularly in the last movement.
 
Shostakovich wrote his second concerto for his son Maxim to play for an audition at the piano class in the Moscow Conservatory. It is scored for full orchestra and piano and is technically less demanding than the first. The thematic material is more immediately appealing. It is one of the composer’s most popular works.
 
Helmchen takes the first movement at a brisk pace and catches nicely the springy, bouncy quality of the opening. The subsequent double octaves are dispatched with aplomb and there is excellent co-ordination with the orchestra. Helmchen adopts a more romantic tone in the famous slow movement and his playing is very sensitive and expressive. Soloist and orchestra are as one in the opening of the playful final movement with both firing on all cylinders for the exurberant 7/8 final section. Helmchen, however, slows down in the subsequent 2/4 section - which is not marked in the score - and this detracts from the momentum and carefree abandon. He and the orchestra pick up pace again and the piece ends triumphantly. Overall, I thought this was again a very good performance although not quite as good as Alexeev’s famous recording on CFP.
 
The final piece is the Piano quintet which Helmchen plays with leading members of the LPO. Shostakovich was a great admirer of Bach’s music and this may have prompted him to begin the work with a prelude and fugue. Helmchen injects the opening prelude with dramatic intensity and there is a warm and equally intense response in the strings. The quintet work well together in managing the changing moods and tone colours of the first movement. The long, slow fugue, which is a homage both to Bach and the late works of Beethoven, is at the heart of the work. This could have been clearer both in voicing and in the balance between the instruments although Helmchen and the LPO quartet do a good job in delineating the long lines and in maintaining intensity.
 
The scherzo opens with all the ingredients of upbeat rustic charm that it needs and there is some excellent articulation in the strings and deft exchanges between the players. The opening of the intermezzo was particularly lovely with the violin playing a long melodic line against pizzicato cello. The opening of the last movement has a slightly elusive quality and I was not persuaded the quintet quite nailed it although the martial second subject was played with gusto and panache.
 
Robert Beattie
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


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.