Oleg Marshev- pianistic pleasures at Waikanae

imageMiddle C – Classical Music Reviews. Wellington, New Zealand

By Peter Mechen, 31/07/2016
Waikanae Music Society presents:
Oleg Marshev (piano)

BRAHMS – Piano Sonata No.3 in F Minor Op.5
RAVEL – Valses nobles et Sentimentales
Gaspard de la nuit

Memorial Hall, Waikanae

Sunday, 31st July 2016

This was the sort of programme that, on paper, would quicken the pulse of anybody interested in the romantic piano repertoire in general – and with Oleg Marchev’s name attached to the enterprise, would settle the issue for the majority of piano-fanciers, myself among them. And while I might not have put Brahms’ name forward as a composer whose music I would have liked to hear Marshev play ahead of people such as Liszt, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, I confess was eagerly anticipating the chance to hear in recital that seldom-played titan among piano sonatas, Brahms’ Op.5 in F Minor.

Is there a more confrontational, cheek-by-jowl, eyeballing opening to a piece of solo piano music in the romantic repertoire than the beginning of this work? My first-ever live encounter with this music was at the hands of the great Peter Donohoe (until recently, well-known to New Zealand audiences), on a never-to-be-forgotten occasion I witnessed in a Midlands English town twenty years ago, when he too began his recital with the piece. There I felt as if the piano was in danger of coming apart out of sheer strain generated by the power and physicality of the playing! – and even with Marshev’s slightly more controlled responses to the music, I still got the impression of a fist being shaken at the heavens, though with rather more nervous energy and urgency than sheer, granite-like power and muscle.

As important as these moments were the contrasting lyrical sequences, which Marshev presented in beautifully-appointed paragraphs, building the ensuing surges of tone up into noble climaxes. What the playing might have lacked in raw visceral impact, it gained in cumulative effect, Marshev’s control excitingly let off its leash at the development’s opening, the pianistic textures jagged and attention-grabbing, leaving our sensibilities exhausted and gratefully receptive to whatever solace the music brought us in the aftermath. A noble, golden-toned major-key version of the opening reassured us for a few moments before the music plunged back into the opening, everything once again magnificently orchestrated and awe-inspiring. How wonderful it was to be again relieved by Marshev’s way with those poignantly contrasted, rolling lyrical paragraphs once again, persuading us that life’s storms are to be stoically endured rather than suffered without any hope or consolation.

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American Record Guide Chopin

American Record Guide May-June 2015

CHOPIN Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. Fantasy on Polish Airs. Krakowiak.Variations on Mozart’s “Là ci darem la mano.” Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante  Ÿ  
CHOPIN Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. Fantasy on Polish Airs. Krakowiak.Variations on Mozart’s “Là ci darem la mano.” Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante  Ÿ  
Oleg Marshev (pf); David Porcelijncond; South Denmark Phil.  ŸDANACORD 701-702 (2 CDs: 136:06)



American Record Guide Chopin review1

American Record Guide Chopin review2

Fanfare. Chopin Concertos

CHOPIN Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. Fantasy on Polish Airs. Krakowiak.Variations on Mozart’s “Là ci darem la mano.” Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante  Ÿ  
CHOPIN Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2. Fantasy on Polish Airs. Krakowiak.Variations on Mozart’s “Là ci darem la mano.” Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante  Ÿ 
Oleg Marshev (pf); David Porcelijncond; South Denmark Phil.  ŸDANACORD 701-702 (2 CDs: 136:06)
Chopin pianists are a breed apart. Sovereign technique must be taken for granted. Yet Chopin playing never can be mere bravura. Of all the great composers, Chopin is the one who speaks most to the masses. A pianist must identify fully with the popular elements in his music, the singing line and the dance rhythms. Chopin playing rarely succeeds if it descends to the abstract or the arcane. Then there is the issue of Chopin’s harmony, which a player must master to create the special ambience of his music. Put all together, these elements should coalesce into a sound one regards as quintessentially Chopin. One of the reasons Arthur Rubinstein was widely regarded as a fine Chopin player is that, whatever you thought of his interpretations, his sound after a few bars made you think, “Chopin.” Oleg Marshev has this same gift. I love his playing. It was interesting to compare his set of the complete works for piano and orchestra with that of Garrick Ohlsson, certainly an eminent Chopin player. Where Ohlsson is concerned with the microeconomics of Chopin playing, Marshev is more in tune with the macroeconomics. For Ohlsson, playing these works is about getting a rhythm right here, an accent right there. Marshev, however, is more interested in the sweep of the music, its cascading structures. No matter how intricately he spins out its expression, the pulse of Chopin’s long line always is maintained. Ohlsson is like a riveter working on a building, while Marshev is its architect. Marshev is the kind of complete artist for whom the entire layout of his interpretation of a piece of music is implicit right from the very beginning of his playing it. And here, after a few bars, you hear yourself think, “Ah, Chopin!” No recording of Chopin’s music in the past few years has given me more pleasure than this one.

Continue reading Fanfare. Chopin Concertos