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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerti 2 & 3

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 1, 2001
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44: Allegro brillante e molto vivace
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44: Andante non troppo
  3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44: Allegro con fuoco
  4. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, Op. post. 75

Product Details

  • Performer: Mkhail Pletnev
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vladimir Fedoseyev
  • Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (May 1, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics Imports
  • ASIN: B00000DNYX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,473 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

While there are innumerable recordings of the ever-popular Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, the other works for piano and orchestra are far too seldom performed, much less recorded. This album is an inexpensive one featuring very fine performances by Mikhail Pletnev, Russian pianist, conductor and composer whose recorded repertoire covers the gamut of both conducting and at the keyboard. His career withstood the shocks of a controversy in Thailand last year and he once again is on stages throughout the world. Pletnev is here accompanied by Vladimir Fedoseyev conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a 2001 recording.

Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44 is quite similar in structure to the first concerto, so much so that it is rather amazing that it has not sustained the performance records of the First. It is rich in sweeping melodies and in technical bravura and Pletnev serves it well. The response form the orchestra is very much in keeping with Pletnev's concept. The 'Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major' was begun as a symphony in E flat. According to historians the symphony was abandoned, only to become a single-movement Allegro brillante when published posthumously. Controversy remains, despite the composer's stated intentions, as to what form this concerto would have taken had Tchaikovsky completed it to his satisfaction. This question is further heightened by two points--the musical quality of what might have been intended as the second and third movements of the concerto and whether this material was worth the efforts of his former student and fellow-composer Sergey Taneyev in resurrecting it after Tchaikovsky's death. These two movements were published as a separate but related composition as Op. post.
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Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto is completely overshadowed by the First, probably for good reason - the latter is a superior work in terms of cohesion and melody - yet there is so much to enjoy in the later work, especially when it is played with such bravura and bravado as we hear from Mihail Pletnev and Fedoseyev, both masters of their native idiom. The Third is a torso, part of a projected three movement work which was notionally completed by Tchaikovsky's student Taneyev, but it is so long and varied in mood that it can stand alone as a sort of Fantasia, rather than being a real concerto.

Doubts arise in the first movement of No.2, as its principal subject is rather banal and unmemorable but the brilliance of Pletnev's playing - it is, after all, an Allegro brillante - and the variety of colours in the orchestration provide interest and the second movement is especially beguiling, with its extended, soulful passages for solo violin and cello before they combine with the piano to produce an effect which is more that of a triple concerto. Tchaikovsky was initially criticised for this departure from convention but the result is ravishing. The fiery finale is typical Tchaikovsky in Russian dance mode and Pletnev's dexterity has to be heard to be believed, especially the final descending runs of the coda, taken at extraordinary speed. Fedoseyev provides highly charge, rhythmically very flexible accompaniment and I hear none of the coarseness which can characterise Russian orchestras - mainly because the orchestra here isn't Russian at all, but the Philharmonia on finest form. Its super-charged atmosphere and rapid descending scales sometimes remind me of the faster passages in Strauss's "Burleske"for piano and orchestra.

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