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Cat. No. CHAN 10384 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10384 - Kabalevsky: Piano Concertos, Volume 2
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Available From: 01 October 2006
Kabalevsky belonged to the middle generation of Soviet-Russian composers whose careers became a search for a style that could achieve some sort of modus vivendi with the requirements of Stalin’s ‘Socialist Realism’. Accessibility, tunefulness, clear-cut forms, optimistic expression, a traditional orientation towards the great Russian classics of the nineteenth century – these were the kinds of quality expected by the Soviet establishment. Kabalevsky came to enjoy a successful and uncontroversial career, although he found himself at the receiving end of accusations of ‘formalism’, which he hardly deserved for his was a skilfully crafted type of expression, drawing on the spirit of folk-melody, and quite free from ‘modernism’. His temperament and relative musical conservatism enabled Kabalevsky, unlike other Soviet composers such as Shostakovich and Prokofiev, to serve the Stalinist regime without painful compromise. His adherence to principles of Socialist Realism, however, should not detract from the very real worth of works that are superbly crafted, overflowing with a natural joie de vivre and of real substance.

Symphony No. 2 proved to be the most successful of his three early essays in the genre – indeed, the only one of his four symphonies to establish itself in the orchestral repertoire, both at home and abroad. This is an accessible, fluently composed work – very much in the spirit of Russian folk nationalism – and the first movement has been compared with the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony. The piano concertos are highly contrasting representations of Kabalevsky’s œuvre but both are written in a direct and accessible style, clearly inspired by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.

Stott plays both concertos with aplomb but also with an understandable wariness of their superficiality, coaxing out their lyricism but playing down their brilliance…
Fanfare on CHAN 10052, Piano Concertos Nos 2 and 3

I barely finished my first playing of this CD before I began to covet its predecessor, on which Kathryn Stott (with conductor Vassily Sinaisky) plays Kabelevsky’s Second and Third Piano Concertos.
International Record Review

Beautifully recorded and executed, the new Chandos disc is self-recommending for collectors of Soviet music and/or 20th-century piano concertos.

This luxuriously recorded follow-up to Kathryn Stott’s fine 2003 coupling of the Second and Third concertos (CHAN 10052) broadens one’s appreciation still further of this most underrated of all Soviet composers…. Stott plays both works with compelling flair and imagination, making light of their considerable technical demands.
BBC Music Magazine

Kathryn Stott is again the featured pianist on this release. I find her playing clear and a bit cool without being hard-edged, all very appropriate for a pair of works that draw frequently for the shape and substance of their figuration upon such works as Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto and Rachmaninov’s later, less romantically embued pieces.

You can’t fault the performances: Kathryn Stott is phenomenal in both concertos, and it’s difficult not to be seduced by the swagger and panache that Neeme Järvi and the BBC Philharmonic bring to the Second Symphony as well.
The Guardian


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