RECORD OF THE MONTH
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
CD 1 [56:23]
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 (1875) [38:18]
Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 75 (1893) [18:05]
CD 2 [49:50]
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44 (1880) [49:50]
Viktoria Postnikova (piano)
Wiener Symphoniker/Gennady Rozhdestvensky
rec. October 1982, Sofiensaal, Vienna. ADD
NEWTON CLASSICS 8802027 [56:23 + 49:50]
If you are looking for the Tchaikovsky piano concertos in the grandest of grand
manners then look no further than this 2 CD set in its single width case.
From the roar of the brass in the First Concerto to the opulent pizzicato and
the super-sized sound of the piano everything is in place to set the pulse racing.
The vehement fist-shaking impact of the horns at the start of the First Piano
Concerto sets the tone which is untiringly maintained. The single movement Third
Concerto storms along with the best. At 4.03 listen to that machine-gun rapping
attack and the Lisztian maelstrom at 9:38. It reflects wonderfully vital and
communicative playing. The blazingly regal rhetoric and poetic introspection
of the Second Piano Concerto has, over the last few decades, become known in
the work’s grown-up uncut version. Before that it was heard in the abbreviated
Siloti edition. Postnikova here favours the full score which sprawls lavishly
and magnificently across approaching fifty minutes. The finale has all the lean
and glitter of the Litolff scherzo yet with a more sovereign bearing.
Vienna’s second orchestra play their hearts out. This is vivid music-making
rather than production-line routine. The beaming geniality of Rozhdestvensky
does not undermine the dramatic power of Tchaikovsky’s writing. Certainly this
is not rent-a-performance from Postnikova (Rozhdestvensky's wife since 1969).
It’s florid and idiosyncratic. Postnikova was born in Moscow and studied with
Yakov Flier. She is no stranger to Tchaikovsky – how could she be. Apart from
this cycle - and in the same decade - she also recorded the complete solo piano
works on seven discs for Erato on ED 2292-45969-2 and 2292-45512-2.
The recordings throughout are bold as brass, red-blooded, wide-stage (try the
first movement of the Second Concerto from 20:00-22:30) and almost luridly exciting
in the grandest Decca FFRR tradition. This is big-boned idiomatic Tchaikovsky
bursting with character just as we would expect from her Scriabin Piano Concerto
also with Rozhdestvensky. These works sounds utterly wonderful in twilight era
analogue with a toweringly present piano sound. The fine notes are Tchaikovsky
authority, John Warrack.
Bold as brass, red-blooded, wide-stage and almost luridly exciting in the grandest Decca FFRR tradition.