CHOPIN Piano Concerto Nos. 1 & 2 Shura Cherkassky, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Christopher Adey, BBC Symphony Orchestra / Richard Hickox. ICA Classics

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Chopin Piano Concerto Nos 1 2 Shura Cherkassky Ica Classics

SHURA CHERKASSKY

Chopin

Piano Concerto No.1 op.11

BBC Scottish SO / Christopher Adey

STUDIO 1, BROADCASTING HOUSE, GLASGOW, 3 DECEMBER 1981

Piano Concerto No.2 op.21

BBC Symphony Orchestra / Richard Hickox

ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON, 30 AUGUST 1983 STEREO

Shura Cherkassky (1909–1995) enjoyed a long career of over seventy years, rising to the forefront of internationally acclaimed concert pianists, first in America (where his family emigrated to escape the Russian Revolution), and after 1961 in London, where he lived until his death in 1995.

A pupil of the legendary Josef Hofmann at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Cherkassky made his concert debut in Baltimore at the age of eleven, touring Australia and South Africa in 1925, and thereafter building up what was almost an obsession for foreign travel as he satisfied an incessant demand for festival appearances, solo and concerto recitals. He moved to California in the 1940s, appearing at the Hollywood Bowl with Sir John Barbirolli and Leopold Stokowski, and after the war, he developed his second, European career, scoring an outstanding success in Hamburg in 1946 and in London, following his acclaimed Wigmore Hall recital in March 1957.

Although he had an enormous repertoire stretching from Bach to Berio, the highpoints of Cherkassky’s career for many remain his interpretations of the concertos of fellow Russian composers like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, and he is now classed alongside Horowitz and Rubinstein as a legendary and sensitive re-interpreter of the nineteenth-century Romantic repertory.

Cherkassky’s phenomenal virtuosity, colour range, imagination and spontaneity made him the ideal Chopin interpreter, though he never commercially recorded the two Chopin Concertos, so this is an

important addition to his CD discography.

These live performances from the 1980s present Cherkassky at his most spontaneous and charismatic. As Robert Orledge has written in his booklet notes, “but if purists may now view some of his interpretations as idiosyncratic, there is still no denying that we are in the presence of a first-rate musician who understood better than many pianists what Chopin’s harmony and voice-leading were

about, and who could make what are early works sound like monuments to his mature genius.”

Superbly remastered in excellent stereo sound.

Cherkassky is also featured on ICAC 5020 in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini together with Prokofiev and Stravinsky. “A total stunner.” (La scena musicale)

Sample Track

Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 – II Romanze: Larghetto

ICA Classics ICAC5085

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