After rubbing your eyes and maybe even hitting your forehead with the palm of your hand a few times to convince yourself that, yes indeed, in fact a young pianist has chosen to make his concerto recording debut with the Tchaikovsky and Grieg concertos, go ahead and have a listen. Denis Kozhukhin, who took first prize at the 2010 Queen Elisabeth, here partners with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Vassily Sinaisky. Out of repertory that has been celebrated, picked over and just about played to death over the course of almost a century and a half, they create magic.
Beecham had an exquisite ear for detail, and his Peer Gynt has more fantasy — more subtlety, too — than anyone else's: Ase s Death and Anitra 's Dance are simply magical. So is the Symphonic Dance, and if In Autumn and the variations occasionally seem a litde thin musically, Beecham makes amends with keenness of attack and eloquent phrasing. The orchestra is superb and the transfers (which give us the variations in stereo for the first time), excellent.
The Italian word malinconia was very commonly used in the nineteenth century as a title for melancholy pieces. Yet the idea of malinconia covered a myriad of romantic notions, so that simply translating it as "melancholy" does not do it justice. It subsumes many other emotional states as well - all kinds of dejection, gloom, unknown sadness, desperation, depression and even frustration. Each language has evolved its own terms, and interpretations of the word itself also differ from region to region. Malinconia in sunny Italy or Spain is quite different from melancholy in Norway and in Finland, where the winters are harsh and long. The Nordic variant is expressed here in various musical examples; words alone are anyway inadequate.