BBC Music Magazine online, Pabst/Skriabin concertos

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Pabst; Rimsky-Korsakov; Scriabin

This is Oleg Marshev’s finest disc since his stylish accounts of the two Shostakovich concertos. He includes a genuine rarity which has not even surfaced on Hyperion’s Romantic Concertos series, the rather ordinary specimen by Königsberg-born, Russocentric Pavel Pabst (1854-97). Calum MacDonald’s liner notes suggest that ‘the date of the work, its tonality and its thematic structure’ may have been tailored to the 1883 coronation of Tsar Alexander the Third. Be that as it may, it’s short on truly distinctive grandeur, but it does give Marshev a chance to display both muscular virtuosity and light transcendentalism, executed as well as anyone could wish. The other concertos on the disc are touched by genius, though neither shows its composer at his most characteristically flamboyant. The 17-year-old Prokofiev was learning the Rimsky-Korsakov Concerto when he learnt of the master’s death in 1907, and wrote in his diary how the work ‘enchanted me with its refinement, clarity, simplicity and sincerity’. Those are characteristic of this interpretation both from Marshev and his team, the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Ziva. Scriabin was only 18 when he wrote his only concerto (unless we count Prometheus), so don’t expect mystic fireworks; but there is a lovely virginal candour in parts, especially for the theme of the central movement’s variations, and these sensitive players do it justice, flaming only for the final blaze. The sound is as crisp and clean as the performances. David Nice

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