A pupil of Tchaikovsky, whom he replaced at the Moscow Conservatory, Sergey Taneyev was a virtuoso pianist and a teacher of Scriabin and Rachmaninov. Although as a composer Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including six String Quartets. These beautifully crafted works are marked by technical assurance at every turn, as well as dramatic inspiration and intense lyricism. The masterly five-movement Quartet No. 1, in fact Taneyev’s Fifth, includes two notable slow movements, while the lighter Quartet No. 3 features a graceful theme with eight variations, alternately playful and contemplative.
A pupil of Tchaikovsky, who called him the ‘Russian Bach’, Sergey Taneyev is best known today for his four symphonies, although he also composed a sizeable body of chamber music, including nine complete String Quartets. Quartet No. 9 is a memorably melodic work, while the beautifully crafted Quartet No. 6, his last completed quartet, is rather more austere, though marked by a playful Jig, and even more masterful in construction.
Following the successful publication on Cappriccio of all Shostakovich’s symphonies on CD, Dmitrij Kitajenko once again collaborates with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln to perform the complete recording of all of Sergey Prokofiev’s seven symphonies. Together they embark on a very challenging project, both in terms of time and level of technical difficulty, a project that demanded huge efforts and potential from the orchestra conductor alike. Prokofiev’s symphonies could not be more varied. They were written at different times throughout the composer’s life and each one individually reflects the pressure of political dictatorship and forced submission to merciless censorship that was prevalent throughout the Soviet-era. On the other hand, the huge energy, the hopes and desires, emotional and social messages conveyed between the lines could not be vanquished even by dictators and censors.
Chandos’s previous Prokofiev series, recorded in the 80s with Neëme Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is still probably the most recommendable complete cycle available. Chandos now seem to feel the need to start again, the reason possibly being that they are now using ‘authentically’ all-Russian forces. Whatever the company’s motivation (or if indeed it is to be a complete cycle), the results are impressively powerful, and the coupling stimulating and generous.
In celebration of their twentieth anniversary, this essential release from Praga focuses on the artistry of the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. In an all-Rachmaninov program, Richter is heard in the first two Piano Concertos accompanied by the great conductor Kurt Sanderling in live performances recorded in the 50s - well before he began touring internationally. Praga's hybrid SACD pairs remastered monophonic recordings of the concertos with four of Richter's favorite Preludes recorded in stereo during his first tour of North America in 1960. Praga has employed the best of today's cutting-edge restoration techniques to present these important historical recordings in all their original glory.