Monday, May 23, 2016

Alexander Scriabin; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Piano Concertos (Nikolai Demidenko)


Composer: Alexander Scriabin
  1. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 1. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito
  2. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 2. Andantino simplice - Prestissimo - Andantino simplice
  3. Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 3. Allegro con fuoco - Molto meno mosso - Allegro vivo
  4. Scriabin - Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op. 20: 1. Allegro
  5. Scriabin - Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op. 20: 2. Andante - Allegro scherzando - Adagio - Allegretto - Tempo I
  6. Scriabin - Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op. 20: 3. Allegro moderato

Nikolai Demidenko, piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Lazarev, conductor
Date: 1994
Label: Hyperion



PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****

It is something of a major achievement when one manages to hear afresh such an over-familiar work as Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. But this is exactly what happens with Demidenko. He has a rare ability to project poetic resonances in the music that are so often overlooked by other pianists. In doing this, he can occasionally be wilful with some of Tchaikovsky’s precise phrasing and dynamics, and the tempo in the Allegro con spirito section of the first movement may seem a little too expansive. But I’d wager that the composer himself would have approved of a performance that eschews bombast and demonstrates such a creativity of approach. Lazarev and the BBC Symphony Orchestra offer sterling support throughout, and the beautifully balanced recording allows one to hear much fascinating inner detail. Similar qualities abound in the performance of Scriabin’s youthful and sometimes Chopinesque concerto. It’s a work that doesn’t deserve to languish in comparative obscurity, and Demidenko gives as convincing an account of the solo part as Ashkenazy on a much admired Decca release. Here one can savour the full range of Demidenko’s pianism, from the dreamy reflectiveness of the magical coda of the slow movement to the powerfully triumphant chords that bring the work to an impressive close.

-- Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine

More reviews:

Alexander Scriabin (6 January 1872 [O.S. 25 December 1871] – 27 April [O.S. 14 April] 1915) was a Russian composer and pianist. Independently of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed a substantially atonal and much more dissonant musical system. He is considered by some to be the main Russian Symbolist composer.


Nikolai Demidenko (born July 1, 1955, Aniskino) is a Soviet-Russian-born classical pianist. In addition to a vast amount of the standard Germanic and Russian repertory, he is a specialist of Frédéric Chopin and a noted champion of the works of neglected composers as well as neglected works of well-known composers.


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