Ivo Pogorelich (LSO – Claudio Abbado) – Piano Concerto No. 1 (Tchaikovsky) (1986)

FrontCover1Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23, concerto for piano and orchestra by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The work is particularly famed for the sequence of pounding chords with which the soloist’s part launches the first movement. The piece premiered in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 25, 1875.

Possessing limited piano skills, Tchaikovsky wrote the concerto intending to persuade a colleague to give the premiere performance. He first approached Nikolay Rubinstein, a pianist and the director of the Moscow Conservatory at which Tchaikovsky taught. Rubinstein condemned the work as badly written and refused to play it unless substantial changes were made. Tchaikovsky Tchaikovsky1declined to revise the piece and offered it instead to the German virtuoso Hans von Bülow, who, finding more to admire than had Rubinstein, agreed to perform it. The premiere, given during an American tour, was an immediate success, and the piece soon became equally popular in Europe. In the face of the new concerto’s undeniable success, Rubinstein withdrew his earlier criticism. He agreed to conduct the Moscow premiere and even made the concerto part of his own repertory.

The first movement opens with a bold horn call heralding a series of powerful chords from the soloist. The strings introduce an expansive theme, which is then taken up by the piano. The second movement, by contrast, is languid, with lighter use of the orchestral instruments. For the finale, Tchaikovsky offers a rondo with various alternating melodies, some of which are heard more than once, and ends by returning to the powerful driven energy of the opening. (by Betsy Schwarm)

Claudio AbbadoThere must be over 100 versions of this concerto in the catalogue by now; though many (thankfully) out of print. I must have heard and owned at least 30 of these over the years; and again half of those did not last the distance. In the end I tend to return to Gilels/Reiner or Richter/Karajan. They are not conspicuously “the best”, but the first is unashamedly virtuosic and the latter rather serious, treating it like a great work of art. Tchaikovsky can take these vagaries of treatment without damage. Too many of the other recordings sound to me like a dozen eggs in one basket.
This is where Pogo and Abbado turned out to be a surprise packet. I bought it from my old habit of filling up a hole in my collection. The pianist was very young then, but already (as I discovered) a bit of a “thinker”. He must have really thought over what he was going to do with this old warhorse on his dash into the big world of recording artists. The result is something very fresh sounding, and although the differences to routine seem slight at each point they occur, eventually they add up to a whole and unusual PressPic1perspective. This is not to be confused with eccentricity. It’s nothing more than placing emphases in novel and unexpected spots. The lyricism is the really strong factor of virtue in this recording. It is clearly heartfelt, not just doodled along, and you can hear it. None of the virtuoso passage stand out as bravura; they are never thundered, but occupy their moment in the logical flow of the whole. Climaxes are musical, a rare accomplishment!
It helps, of course, to have a magnificent instrument like the Chicago Symphony behind you, and Abbado is a very congenial and sympathetic accompanist (I mean this in general: He seems to me the ideal man at the helm in a concerto, no matter who the soloist is).
The recording is also outstanding, clear, transparent and wholly musical.
In any competition for the buyer’s purse this would have a strong claim. The music itself is, after all, a young man’s work (Tchaikovsky was about 35 then and gained his fame precisely through this concerto). Accordingly a young pianist’s view of it can’t be that far wrong, if he retains a sound musical approach and eschews pretences – the very criterion on which so many youngsters fall afoul, whereas Pogorelich is all discretion and superlative music making. So this is serious business: A recording good enough to grace a discriminating collector’s shelves that is lifted by its sheer quality out of the crowd of the many also-rans.(by Jurgen Lawrenz)

Claudio+IvoPersonnel:
Ivo Pogorelich (piano)
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London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Claudio Abbado

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito 23.20
02. Andantino semplice – Prestissimo – Tempo I 7.45
03. Allegro con fuoco 6.40

Label*
**

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Various Artists – Royal Clown Classic – The Sampler (1989)

FrontCover1The Pilz Media Group (founded by Reiner E. Pilz) was a small German record label for classic music (not to be confused with Pilz Records, the legendary label for German Krautrock music.

They were first marketed in the USA in a gigantic mail order package of 100 CDs at a cost of about $5 per disk, offering the “Vienna Master Series” of major symphonic, chamber, and piano repertoire. Lately they have been turning up on single disks and even in double disk sets at the cost of only $3.99 or even less for 2 CDs, or $1 to $2 per single disk, at dealers like Blockbuster Music.

They released at the end of the Eighties this sampler with music from their Catalog.

Booklet01AAnd so you can hear some of the finest pieces of classical musc. The booklet is their catalog for the years 1989/90 … (black + white pictures only !)

Unfortunately they didn´t give us any informations about the musicians and orchestras we can hear on this beautiful record.

But … even this mistake … it´s a sampler with very fine examples of classic music, including “Vltava (The Moldau) ” (one of my favorite classic composition)

Booklet03ATracklist:

Franz von Suppé:
01. Ouvertüre “Dichter Und Bauer” 9.34

Johann Strauss:
02. Wiener Blut Op. 354 9.26

Frederic Chopin:
03. Walzer Cis-moll Op. 64/2 3.31

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
04. Symphonie Nr. 40 G-moll Kv 550, Molto Allegro 6.35

Antonio Vivaldi:
05. Concerto Grosso A-moll Allegro 3.57

Johann Sebastian Bach:
06. Toccata und Fuge D-moll  8.28

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
07. Swan-Lake Suite 3.10

Bedřich Smetana:
08. Vltava (The Moldau)  12.52

Richard Wagner:
09. Ouvertüre zu Tannhäuser 14.39

CD1*
**

BookletBackCoverA