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Cat. No. CHAN 10814(2) Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 10814 - Scharwenka: Complete Piano Concertos
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Available From: 22 March 2014

Scharwenka: Piano Concertos Nos 1 – 4 – Alexander Markovich, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

The Polish-born German composer Franz Xaver Scharwenka was a much lauded and beloved figure of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century music. His four piano concertos are central works among his small output. They have here been recorded together for the first time.

Piano Concerto No. 1 was dedicated to Liszt and brought Scharwenka great renown. Originally conceived as a solo piano Fantasy, it was reworked as a piano concerto which in its content, despite a seemingly conventional three-movement structure, reflects its origin as a fantasia. The Second Piano Concerto seems to represent a step back stylistically, echoing the conservative style of Brahms. However, the influence of his native Poland can also be heard in allusions to Chopin as well as in Polish dance elements in the finale. The Third Concerto, in C sharp minor, opens with impressively powerful music reflective of this key signature, but in its highly romantic way it also introduces delicate and lyrical passages. Perhaps the finest of the concertos, the Fourth was met with astonishing enthusiasm at its premiere in 1908. It is an enormously varied work, a quality typified in the ‘roller-coaster’ first movement which moves rapidly from one expressive world to another.

Reviews

                     Interpretation ******          Sound *****          Repertoire *****
H-D Grünefeld - Piano News magazine (Germany) - July/August 2014

“This long-awaited Chandos set gathers the four piano concertos by Franz Xaver Scharwenka (1850-1924) together for the first time, in thrilling performances from Alexander Markovich and the Estonian National Symphony under Neeme Järvi… this new survey of Scharwenka’s piano concertos is a personal triumph for Markovich who consistently delivers titanic pianism that few can match these days. Recorded sound, from the Estonia Concert hall in Tallinn, more than lives up to the exacting standards we’ve come to expect from Chandos, and informative booklet notes by Adrian Thomas complete this invaluable and authoritative issue.

Michael Jameson – International Record Review – May 2014

 

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