Classic FM November 2009
Ravel Two Concerti; Debussy Fantasie, Franck Symphonic Variations Oleg Marshev pf Sonderborg Symphony Orchestra / Vladimir Ziva Danacord DACOCD 672
Ravel’s concertos are chalk and the cheese: the Left Hand is a psychological shocker; the G major is filled with the exuberant energy of the Jazz Age. Marshev doesn’t sell either mood short – his Left Hand is bleak, sombre and probing, while he swings effortlessly through the mischievous jazz clichès in the Concerfto in G. The debussy and the Franck receive correspondingly insightful performances
CLASSIC FM—MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition—piano version, orchestral version (orch Ravel)
Oleg Marshev pf Odense SO/ Jan Wagner Danacord DACOCD656 (70′.DDD)
The enterprising Danacord label has come up with the novel (though not unique) idea of coupling the original piano version of Mussorgsky’s masterpiece (1874) with Ravel orchestration (1922). Oleg Marshev is on top form with a well-paced, deftly characterised account with startling bursts of virtuosity that can hold its own with the best in a competitive field. By comparison, Wagner and his Odense players are merely staid and workmanlike. Some sluggish tempos (“Tuileries”, “Limoges” and the finale) and unimaginative takes on “Bydlo” and “Ballet of the Chicks” do not illuminate the full potential of this wonderful score. Both performances are vividly recorded.
The Eraly Brahms
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op.1. Variations on a Theme by Schumann, Op. 9. Four Ballades, Op. 10
Oleg Marshev (pf)
Danacord DACOCD 643
The 20-year-old Brahms nailedhis colours to the mast with his Op.1 Sonata in C, an ambitious piece with an opening unashamedly imitating Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” sonata. He aimed high and doesn’t disappoint: it’s a virtuosic, multifaceted effort. The Ballades are full of fascinating inward byways. Personal agony underpins the Variations, written in tribute to Schumann, Brahms’s mentor, then confined to the mental hospital where he later died. Oleg Marshev’s interpretaions are faithful, sensitive and upfront, enhanced by a fine touch and deep feeling, even if some of the tempi are a tad deliberate.
The late Schubert
Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat Major, D960 Three Piano Pieces, D946
Oleg Marshev (piano)
Danacord DACOCD 646
Schubert’s last few months were constantly plagued by syphilitic fits of giddiness, almost certainly the result of some ill-advised liaison some years beforehand. Despite this he hits just kept on coming, and included his Ninth Symphony (“Great”), his String Quintet and his final three piano sonatas. The B flat is the last of all Schubert’s sonatas, and it is an unfanthomable achievement by a mere 31-year-old, from whom life was literally slipping away. Whereas some virtuosos choose to envelop the sonata in a haze of dreamy nostalgia, Oleg Marshev pays it as a valedictory statement in the Beethoven mould to often startling effect- frequently ravaged by searing emotions. Revisionist and compelling
Piano Concertos Nos 1-5
Oleg Marshev (piano); South Jutland SO/Niklas Willйn
Danacord DACOCD 584-585
This set is a revelation. Instead of the routinely hard-edged piano sound that so many pianists bring to these works, Marshev offers a rounded, beautiful tone that genuinely draws you into the music, while in no way undercutting its virtuoso drive. In the Second Concerto’s massively difficult opening movement, Marshev’s command amazes, as does his deft touch with the attractive and rarely heard Fourth (for left hand only). The orchestral accompaniments, too, are seriously good.