Brahms concerto n2 for piano and orchestra, Op.83 in B Flat major / Eight piano pieces, Op.76
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Audio CD, September 29, 2003
This is spontaneously fresh and poetic reading of the Brahms score by the same historical orchestra that premiereded the Schostakovich 's symphony N7 in besieged Leningrad in 1942.Pianist Halida Dinova, acclaimed for her recordings of Scriabin, Bloch and modern repertoire collaborates with Gustavo Plis-Sternberg, the internationally known Conductor of Mariinsky theatre.
Halida Dinova plays it with coviction and panache and has equally vigorouse and spirited support from St.Petersburg players"... -- Ivan March, Gramophone, September2003
The Brahms concerto performance on this recording is a bold,deeplypoetic reading, marked by a technical command that many pianists could'nt muster. -- Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 2, 2003
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Arriving with quite a pedigree of musical training in her homeland, Dinova continued her studies at the Cleveland Institute, then garnered attention in several competitions. Now she is embarked upon a busy career, giving solo recitals that are usually praiseworthy for their musical accomplishment, as well as the fact that her interest seeks to program the less frequently heard repertoire, even of familiar composers like Chopin or Rachmaninoff. Her critically-acclaimed reputation as a Scriabin interpreter is probably one of the largest themes in her career so far.
So what do Halida Dinova and the St. Petersburg orchestra bring to the Brahms Second Piano Concerto?
First off, Ms. Dinova is the possessor of a uniquely limpid and singing piano tone. She can handle awkward chords as if she were singing them, and Brahms has plenty of these. Rapid passages fly and skitter about, pretty much as they must, giving off brilliant flashes of light, and sometimes musical heat. She is a grand lady, and her manner is full of poetry. She phrases with maestoso grandeur, and never seems afraid of letting a phrase unfold with plenty of rhetorical weight. Such grand style poses risks of course. It is all too easy to fall off the edge, so that your intended grandness of manner devolves into empty grandiosity. Happily, Ms. Dinova never once really goes over the edge in playing Brahms. Her heart is sincere, so her grandness of phrase and pacing strikes the listener's ear as real musical declamation. Like an attentive listener who wants to hear the whole story being told by a highly revered, but almost forgotten old man or woman, Dinova gives Brahm's music an Old World seriousness of attention and narrative inflection that instantly accords it a place in modern musical history without slighting its importance in the least.
The orchestra keeps up, by the way. In every department, particularly in those lovely Brahms woodwind solos, there is weight, tunefulness, and glowing colors. Any old caveats about Brahms not being a transparent orchestrator need not be trotted out here. Tempos are good, but flexible enough to accommodate musical breathing, and the brass are steady for the most part. The St. Petersburg horns are not saxophones, thank goodness.
To complete the program on this dics, Ms. Dinova gives us her readings of all eight of the Opus 76 piano pieces. These are miniatures in length, but masterpieces in musical fantasy and substance. Brahms is confiding his most private and personal thoughts and feelings to us. As we listen to him, Ms. Dinova reminds us that he was a complex man and a complex human being.
I haven't heard the Scriabin disc from Ms. Dinova yet. But her immense poetry and fire in playing the Brahms available here piques my interest, definitely. A word of advice to future recording engineers. When you record Ms. Dinova again in solo recital, give the piano sound just a bit more room to breathe and resonate. Ms. Dinova has a unique and special kind of piano tone that needs to rise from the immediate sounding board and take wing into the room air. If you place the microphones too closely, even by a bit (as in the taping here of the Opus 76 pieces), you risk losing that extra bit of airy sheen and fulsome beauty for which Ms. Dinova's touch is justly becoming known. Given her gifts, it is quite a pity when very slight adjustments of recording technique might begin to sell her talents short.
Readers are also advised to keep an eye out for the Eberhardt piano/orchestra commission that was written especially for Ms. Dinova, then able to be recorded. It is supposed to appear on Naxos as part of their intrepid modern music series.
Generally speaking, then, this dics cannot be viewed as a final word on the Brahms Second Piano Concerto. The artist is young and has such considerable gifts that she is still coming into her own, without in any way now playing in a tentative or immature manner. Her sheer poetry, her passion, and above all, her incredible tone would do credit to any pianist of any age or stage of musical insight.
Five stars for welcome, then. And, believe me, Halida Dinova is most welcome.
This pianist has musical sensitivity, depth and control. Her collaboration with the orchestra is a perfect blend
with this concerto. The St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra never sounded better.
Dinova's eight piano pieces op.76 are truly a delight. These miniatures are like dollops of whipped cream that top off an already great Brahms CD.
I would love to hear her play the Bartok 2nd.