- Piano Concerto No. 1, for piano, trumpet & strings, in C minor, Op. 35
- Sonata for violin & piano, Op. 134
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102
The programming of this recording by Alexander Melnikov seems to be no accident. The two large, witty, outward-looking piano concertos surround the more grave, inward-facing "Violin Sonata" the way a sonata's or concerto's two fast movements surround a slow movement. It's also a real reflection of Melnikov as a performer, schooled in the Russian tradition and mentored by Richter (the pianist of the first public performance of the "Violin Sonata"), who is as comfortable as a soloist as he is as a collaborative pianist playing chamber music. In that regard, Melnikov and Faust make their parts of the sonata equal partners in the music, bringing out the smallest details. It is generally held that the sonata is about death, and these two handle it with intensity and seriousness, but do not make it grim or frightful. In the concertos, Melnikov and conductor Teodor Currentzis are also well matched. In the slow movements, especially of the "Concerto No. 2," Melnikov's touch is so soft and phrasing so lyrical as to give the music a sweetness normally associated with a Rachmaninov or Ravel concerto, and Currentzis follows his lead. The animation in the fast movements, where Shostakovich likes to use rapidly repeated notes, is not pointedly sharp, but is impressive and extremely engaging nonetheless. The finale of "Concerto No. 1," when everyone -- including the very precise trumpeter Jeroen Berwaerts -- gets going together is almost precipitously exciting. Yet it is Melnikov's sensitivity of touch that distinguishes his performance of these works from others'.
|Label:||Harmonia Mundi Fr.|