Gramophone, Tchaikovsky

GRAMOPHONE Awards Special Issue 2007

A stunning Second Concerto from Marshev, back on outstanding form

Tchaikovsky Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra Oleg Marshev pf Aalborg Symphony Orchestra / Owain Arwel Hughes Danacord DACOCD 586-587

Marshev returns to top form, all guns blazing, with the three piano concertos (the last two movements of No 3 orchestrated by Taneyev as the Andante and Finale in B flat/E flat, Op 79), the Concert Fantasia in G and Tchaikovsky’s rarely heard early Allegro in C minor for piano and strings. The latter dates from his student days (1863-64) and lasts a mere 2’30”. It was only unearthed in 1965 and, while hardly significant music, is an interesting sign of things to come. David Fanning’s comprehensive essay on the evolution of the six works on these two discs is a further reason to invest.

But to the main fare. The much-thumbed pages of the B flat minor Concerto come up as fresh as paint without any startling revelations, a fine account with all concerned at one with the spirit and the letter. No 2, however, recorded a year later in August 2002, is quite outstanding. The first movement’s bracing tempo (a true allegro brillante e molto vivace) allows Marshev to revel in the massive piano-writing to properly heroic effect, the brittle tone that he prefers well pitted against the Aalborg players, especially the enthusiastic brass section. The highlight of the two discs, though, is the slow movement. Played without Ziloti’s cuts, it is one of the most affecting accounts I’ve heard (Alexander Zeiher, violin, and Vincent Stadlmaier, cello, are Marshev’s partners).

With the Third Concerto (Marshev’s first movement comparable with an old personal favourite – Gary Graffman and Ormandy) and the Concert Fantasia handled in a similar vein, all 134 minutes of music come enthusiastically recommended.

Jeremy Nicholas

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