Shostakovich: Piano Music; Chamber Works [Box Set]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - C. Ryan Hill
Pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy has long been associated with the music of Russian heritage, and the music of Dmitry Shostakovich is certainly no exception. This five-disc box set, consisting primarily of previously released material, contains most of Shostakovich's important output within his solo keyboard works and inclusive chamber music. The first three discs feature the work of Ashkenazy exclusively. His readings of the "Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues," while not always energetic, do have a profound sense of empathy and thoughtfulness, although they lack immediacy. His reasoning behind the choice of tempi in certain movements his sluggish "Prelude No. 24," for ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - C. Ryan Hill
Pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy has long been associated with the music of Russian heritage, and the music of Dmitry Shostakovich is certainly no exception. This five-disc box set, consisting primarily of previously released material, contains most of Shostakovich's important output within his solo keyboard works and inclusive chamber music. The first three discs feature the work of Ashkenazy exclusively. His readings of the "Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues," while not always energetic, do have a profound sense of empathy and thoughtfulness, although they lack immediacy. His reasoning behind the choice of tempi in certain movements his sluggish "Prelude No. 24," for instance also seems elusive. His rendition of the "Second Piano Sonata" is one of reservation, containing a mellowness that is neither readily inviting nor emotive. In contrast, Ashkenazy performs the sometimes dreamy, sometimes jovial "Three Fantastic Dances" with a welcome flair that is not necessarily typical of his usual style. He also brings the irony in the composer's "Aphorisms to light," and performances from the somewhat less-familiar "Five Preludes" and "Dances of the Dolls" provide enjoyable fillers for the remainder of the disc. The fourth installment begins with Shostakovich's early, modernist "First Piano Sonata." The sound world Shostakovich creates here is similar to the styles evoked in his early "Second" and "Third" symphonies. Lilya Zilberstein gives this tumultuous work a firmly aggressive and committed reading. It is Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen, though, who manages to create some of the best moments in the set. His readings of the "Op. 31 Preludes" showcase his inviting style and wonderful lyrical gifts, including a sublimely melancholic performance of No. 10. A bleaker, more desolate atmosphere surrounds Shostakovich's masterful "Second Piano Trio," the final movement of which utilizes the haunting Jewish folk song the composer later integrated into his "Eighth String Quartet." Unfortunately, the sometimes wildly swinging tempi a result of emotional overload only seem to distract from an otherwise superb performance courtesy of the Beaux Arts Trio. Ashkenazy makes an appearance on the final disc in the set, joined by a number of outstanding colleagues. Lynn Harrell joins the pianist for an anguished performance of the cello sonata, a work that encapsulated the composer's even more-than-usually turbulent life at the time of writing separation from his wife and more importantly, the Pravda article condemning his work. The Fitzwilliam String Quartet, a group to whom the composer entrusted Western premieres of his last three quartets, joins Ashkenazy for an impassioned performance of the piano quintet. While the overuse of Ashkenazy's sometimes uninspiring performances do not necessarily make for a perfect compilation of recordings, these five discs together nevertheless form a formidable offering from Decca, containing its usual sound at a decent bargain.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/13/2006
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947574255
  • Catalog Number: 000641302
  • Sales rank: 110,300

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–48 Preludes & Fugues (24), for piano, Op. 87 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (141:13)
Disc 2
Disc 3
  1. 1–3 Sonata for piano No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 61 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (27:32)
  2. 4–6 Fantastic Dances (3), for piano, Op. 5 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (3:51)
  3. 7–11 Preludes (5) for piano (taken from Op. 2 for inclusion in collaborative work of 24 preludes with Clements & Feldt) - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (6:31)
  4. 8 Dances of the Dolls (7), suite for piano (arr. from the ballet suites for orchestra): Lyric Waltz, Dances of the Dolls - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (1:42)
  5. 9 Dances of the Dolls (7), suite for piano (arr. from the ballet suites for orchestra): Short Piece, The Gadfly, op. 97 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (2:04)
  6. 10 Dances of the Dolls (7), suite for piano (arr. from the ballet suites for orchestra): Spanish Dance, The Gadfly, op. 97 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (2:19)
  7. 11 Dances of the Dolls (7), suite for piano (arr. from the ballet suites for orchestra): Nocturne, The Limpid Stream, op. 39 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (2:17)
  8. 16–25 Aphorisms (10), for piano, Op. 13 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (13:33)
  9. 17 The Age of Gold, ballet, Op. 22: Polka - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (1:52)
Disc 4
  1. 1–6 Sonata for piano No. 1 (October Symphony), Op. 12 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Lilya Zilberstein (13:10)
  2. 7–30 Preludes (24) for piano, Op. 34 - Olli Mustonen & Dmitry Shostakovich (29:01)
  3. 31–34 Trio for piano & strings No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Beaux Arts Trio (24:28)
Disc 5
  1. 1–4 Sonata for cello & piano in D minor, Op. 40 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (26:09)
  2. 2 Moderato, for cello & piano, Op. 40b (until 1968 considered to be part of Sonata Op 40) - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (2:44)
  3. 6–7 Pieces (2) for double string quartet, Op. 11 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Fitzwilliam String Quartet (7:36)
  4. 8–12 Quintet for piano & strings in G minor, Op. 57 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (32:12)
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