MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
57,318reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

MusicWeb - "A Beacon of Probity and Integrity" - Ralph Moore

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 







Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

 

 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Quintet, Op. 57 (1940) [34:08]
24 Preludes, Op. 34 (1932) [38:36]
Michail Lifits (piano)
Szymanowski Quartet
rec. December 2015, June 2016, Sendesaal Bremen, Germany
DECCA 481 4842 [72:44]

Michail Lifits and the Szymanowski Quartet excel in their performance of Shostakovich’s moody masterpiece. The Prelude really sings, and it also sears in intensity. The pianissimo playing at the end of the fugue is exquisite. The scherzo dances with manic energy. The finale is a joy, moving from strutting majesty in the march, which begins about a minute into the movemen,t to quiet whimsy at the end. Only in the intermezzo did I wonder if the playing might be perhaps too beautiful, but learned that it was not as the players turned that beauty into a song of desolation and loneliness. The Szymanowski Quartet plays at top form, capturing the work’s constantly shifting moods. Their performance is brilliant, as good as any and better than most.

Most recordings of the Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet are filled out by one of his string quartets, saying goodbye to the pianist. Instead, Decca pairs the quintet with a keyboard work, demonstrating great confidence in the young Russian pianist, Michail Lifits. Lifits has broad musical interests. His Mozart has been well received, and he has also recorded Schubert, and Violin Sonatas by Grieg and Strauss with Vilde Frang.

Shostakovich composed the 24 Preludes, Op. 34 after completing his opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Shostakovich created music of great diversity, which has the superficial flavor of a casual notebook of musical sketches, although these brief pieces formally follow the circle of fifths through the 24 major and minor keys.

There are over twenty-five recordings of these Preludes, but few by established artists with big careers (Ashkenazy, Nicolaevska, and Mustonen are the exceptions). Most pianists seem to play the work in around thirty minutes. Lifits takes about eight minutes longer. We know that Shostakovich was often indifferent to his own metronome markings, which he sometimes took from the first performer to play a piece. Lifits’ more deliberate tempo choices and deft rubato make other versions seem underplayed. In Lifits’ hands the Preludes seem worldlier, more knowing. Lifits presents us with more than an appealing musical sketchbook, revealing a world of the composer’s moods (from sardonic to resigned), managing to link this early composition to the laconic, spare and enigmatic music of late Shostakovich, where the composer seems alone, yet intensely observant.

We hear echoes of Shostakovich’s musical upbringing, with lots of Chopinesque moments, but also popular tunes including a highly ornamented tango. Lifits carries the listener into these concentrated little pieces. His gentle trilling in No. 10 (Moderato non troppo, in C sharp minor) is beguiling, as is his finger work in No. 5 (Allegro vivace, in D major), a flight-of-the-bumblebee sort of display. Other highlights include the show of power in the middle of No. 14 (Adagio, in E flat minor), and his handling of the child-like, slightly stumbling tune of No. 21 (21 Allegretto poco moderato, in B flat major).

This disc is quite well-recorded, and is recommended both for an outstanding performance of the popular Piano Quintet, but even more for a provocative interpretation of the lesser known Preludes.
 
Richard Kraus

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews


all Bridge reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

June 2022


Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32


Orchestral Works


String Quartets Vol 1

May2022


Cantatas and Organ Works


Complete Songs


Ralph Vaughan Williams


Simone Dinnerstein piano