Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sviatoslav Richter in Prague (Grieg & Dvořák)

The success of the Concerto, op. 16 has fostered the image of a composer with a great melodic gift, even if his brilliant lyricisme could be atributed to his brorrowings from the fond of Norwegian folk music. It is a work of pure happiness, that of a young man of twenty-five who has recently married and seen the birth of his first child. It was written in the summer of 1868, while Grieg was staying in a summer chalet in the Danish village of Søllerød with friends, among them the piansit Edmond Neupert. The model that inspired him was certainly Schumann's Piano Concerto , op. 54 in the same key (A minor), but Grieg gives his score a distinctively Norwegian cast. The motif of an octave falling to the seventh and to the fifth first given to the soloist, is immediately preated by the clarinet that adds a dotted rhythm reminiscent of a halling. The same thing happens with the more melodic second subject in the cello (in the 1882 revision, it was originally given to the trumpet). The development again takes up the initial piano fanfare, plays on changes of key and leads to the virtuosic and eloquent solo cadenza. A coda played by the full orchestra ends the movement.
The slow movement is a veritable "midsummer-night's dream" with a soughing of the strings con sordino cloured by a few touches of the horn and the bassoon, while the piano presents and develops the sinuous meanderings of its own song, a "nocturne" in ternary form. The finale is typically "nationalistic" in character. The soilist's insistent them imitates the sounds of the Hardanger fiddle with its appogiatures, its open fifths and its highpitched dissonances. The second theme is more candidly dance-like, followed by a lyrical episode, a dreamy, seductive cantabile introduced by the flute. The cadenza retuns to the initial theme in the rhythm of a halling (in 2/4 time) which changes into a springar (3/4 time). Then the culminating point of the dsicourse bursts in : a powerful trumpet call announces the recapitulation of the cantabile passage. Two more cadenzas crown the work in the mode of G natural, which elicited Liszt's exclamation when he played the work in 1870 : "G natural, G natural, not G-sharp ! Magnificent ! It sounds so tipically Swedish !" The first performance had been planned for New Year's Day 1869, but Grieg had not yet completed the orchestration. Neupert, the dedicater, first played the Concerto on April 3, 1970 in Rome, in the absence of the composer, who was, however, apprised of the triomphant success of his work.
Pierre-E. Barbier, from the booklet

Sviatoslav Richter
In Prague
Grieg & Dvořák


Edvard Grieg

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
(1872, rev.. 1906-7)
1 Allegro molto moderato  12:01
2 II. Adagio - attaca  5:22
3 III. Allegro moderato molto e marcatto -
Quasi presto - Andante maestsoso  9:25


Antonín Dvořák

Piano Concerto in G mainor, Op. 33 B 63
4 I. Allegro agitato  18:22
5 II. Andante sostenuto  9:33
6 III. Allegro con fuoco  10:47

Sviatoslav Richter - p
Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra/Kiril Kondrashin - dir [# 1-3] ; Prague Symphony Orchestra/Václav Smetáček - dir [# 4-6]

Recorded Czech Radio Broadcasts, Prague : August, 1977 [# 1-3] ; June 2, 1966 [# 4-6]

1 comment:

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