The G major Anton Rubinstein violin concerto is a fine and powerful work, quite as good as many a lesser-known Russian example in the same genre, and easily as deserving of wider currency as, say, the Taneyev Suite de Concert, which is just as rarely heard these days. Nishizaki gives a committed and polished reading, though you often feel that this is music written by a pianist who had marginally less facility when writing for the violin. Still, here’s a well-schooled performance, full of agreeable touches of imagination (the Andante shows Nishizaki’s fine-spun tone to particularly good effect) delivered with crisply economical urgency that makes good musical sense even of the work’s plainer and less idiomatic passages.
Award-winning pianist Ingrid Fliter makes her Linn debut with a distinctive performance of Chopin’s notoriously difficult piano concertos, featuring the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jun Märkl. Since winning the silver medal at the 2000 Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Ingrid has built a reputation as a first-rate Chopin interpreter.
Tchaikovsky wrote four works for piano and orchestra: the three concertos, and the Concert Fantasy in G Op.56 (1884). The First Concerto ranks today as possibly the most famous piano concerto ever composed. Its entry into the world was, however, far from easy. Dismissed by critics as a flop, and by its dedicatee Nikolai Rubinstein as unplayable – which caused a rift between Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky, the concerto was premiered in Boston in the USA in 1875, and the dedicatee was Hans von Bülow, who conducted the performance with Benjamin Johnson Lang as soloist. Its success was never in doubt from then on. Rubinstein relented and undertook to champion the concerto. It is a large, dramatic work with its roots firmly in the Chopin/Mendelssohn school.
Rubinstein was the ultimate concert pianist. He played 100-plus engagements a year for some seven decades. Of all great pianists, Rubinstein was perhaps the least fussy. His playing, even at its greatest and most exciting, could be almost disconcertingly straightforward. For all his much-vaunted showmanship, he was a musician first and a virtuoso second. But despite his lifelong claims to the contrary, his virtuosity was formidable . . . The most characteristic features of Rubinstein's playing were his rich, and richly varied tone, his uncanny ability to 'sing' melodic lines over great stretches of time – and to project them throughout the largest halls – and his all-pervasive command of rhythm . . . this release makes for a very moving experience.So this DVD paints the regal close of a colossal reign: as indicated, the bonus is a delight, and you'll never hear more opulent, more exhilarating performances of these three pet concertos. Heartily recommended for all viewers. Including folks who normally avoid classical music.
It's a shame Rubinstein didn't record more of Mozart's music, for his obvious affinity for the composer shines through these 1958-1960 stereo recordings of five concertos. Rubinstein's Mozart is forthright–he refuses to sentimentalize by swooning over the music's beauties or to indulge in larger-than-life playing that would rupture its classical framework. Even in the famous Andante of the 21st Concerto, his melting legato traces the curve of the melody without excess. Moderation was his byword, so while there are times one could wish for over-the-top risk taking–a more unbuttoned Allegro of the K. 453, a tad more melodrama in the first movement of the K. 466, some extra sizzle in the outer movements of K. 488–what we have is built to last for the long term. These are performances you can't get tired of. There's a general sense of rightness about tempo choices, and everything, from the singing tone to the exquisite phrasing to the perfectly managed transitions, reflects a master pianist playing music he feels deeply. The accompaniments are fine and the transfers significantly improved over past issues.
Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
The old model for creating a hit classical recording – big-name soloist plus big-name conductor in major repertory work – is not so common anymore, but this live Brahms recording from the Staatskapelle Berlin under Venezuela's Gustavo Dudamel, with Argentine-Israeli-Palestinian-Spanish pianist Daniel Barenboim as soloist, shows that there's life in the concept yet. One could point to the virtues of pianist and conductor separately: it's a rare septuagenarian who can combine power and clear articulation of detail the way Barenboim does, and Dudamel builds a vast sweep in, especially, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. But it's the way that the two work together that really makes news. Chalk it up to shared South American heritage or to whatever the listener wants, but the way the orchestra and piano define separate spheres and work them together is extraordinary. Again, it is in the Piano Concerto No. 1 and its Beethovenian drama that their mutual understanding is most evident, but there is a sense of great variety powerfully unified throughout.
"If you like Artur Rubinstein's Chopin, then this is a disc to get. (…) Everyone will have favourite recordings (Perahia in the Ballades, Richter or Arrau in the Scherzi)but the more you listen to Rubenstein the more you understand his reputation as a Chopin magician…" ~sa-cd.net