Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shura Cherkassky - Live, vol. 7

Volumes 7 in Decca’s “Shura Cherkassky Live” series continues an ear-tickling legend and spell. No other pianist has left his mark with such teasing idiosyncrasy or with such fluid and scintillating pianism. Nothing is set, everything is seemingly improvised on the spot, new colours, angles and perspectives coming to him willy-nilly, on the spur of the moment. He can induce smiles and frowns, provoke pleasure and irritation, acceptance and rejection in equal proportions but he is always true to his own lights. As he himself puts it with delightful vagueness, “I just play the way I play”.
For me Petrushka is the star in this particular firmament of performances. Melodic patterns vanish and appear like rabbits from a conjuror’s hat and it is difficult to recall a reading, save from Cherkassky himself, more mischievously or acutely characterized. Listen to the cadenza at 2'58'' in “Chez Petrushka” and I doubt whether you will ever consider this passage in quite the same light again. True, there are occasional lapses, moments when caprice takes over from authenticity, but personally, I wouldn’t miss a note.
In Scriabin’s Fourth Sonata Cherkassky gives new meaning to terms such as dolce (from him invariably dolcissimo) and his flight through the concluding prestissimo flashes and sparkles with one piquant off-the-cuff surprise after another. Try 2'17'' onwards and you will hear playing that is volando indeed, with Scriabin’s reeling, syncopated argument apparently flying in all directions simultaneously. [...] His Ravel is quirky but never less than affectionate and he even manages a sense of occasion for Britten’s vapid Holiday diary (how odd that Britten, a great pianist, should have produced so little of consequence for the keyboard). Finally, Cherkassky’s Berg may be more garrulous than lucid, but it is always fascinating.
The majority of these performances date from the 1980s ; [the disc is] lavishly illustrated and documented and the recordings, given their provenance, are brilliantly faithful. And so although you may feel, like the protagonists in Robert Graves’s The Troll’s Nosegay, “awed, charmed, distracted, a trifle piqued... who knows ?” you will never remain indifferent, not for a minute, not for a second.
Bryce Morrison

Source :

Shura Cherkassky
Live, vol. 7


Alexander Scriabin

Piano Sonata n° 4 in F-Sharp Major, Op. 30
1 I. Andante  3:03
2 II. Prestissimo volando  4:58

Igor Stravinsky

Three Movements from Petrushka
3 I. Danse russe  2:57
4 II. Chez Petrouchka  4:29
5 III. La Semaine grasse  10:39

Maurice Ravel

6 I. Modéré  3:57
7 II. Mouvement de menuet  3:14
8 III. Animé  3:45

Alban Berg

Sonata, Op. 1
9 Mäßig bewegt  10:04

Olivier Messiaen

10 Île de feu I  2:24
11 Île de feu II  4:49
(from Quatre Etudes de rythme)

Benjamin Britten

Holiday Diary
12 I. Early morning bathe  1:53
13 II. Sailing  4:02
14 III. Fun-fait  2:41
15 IV. Night  4:53

Aaron Copland

16 El Salón México  10:20
(arr. for piano solo by Leonard Bernstein)


Shura Cherkassky - p

Recorded at BBC Birmingham ; May 7, 1973 [# 10-15] ; at the Quen Elizabeth Hall, London ; November 22, 1979 [# 3-5] ; at St. John's, Smith Square, London ; December 20, 1982 [# 1 & 2] & March 20, 1989 [# 6-8 & 16] ; at the Queen's Hall, Edinburg ; September 1, 1983 [# 9].


Melanchthon said...

Historicus said...

Thanks a lot!!!

Rigoletto said...

Great share, thanks! Unfortunatly I can not open the files. (I have 7 Zip), what can I do?

Albert Mondet said...

I found the wonderful "caverne d'Ali Baba"
merci Mel !
to Rigoletto : you can open the files with "The" on MacIntosh and the good pass word

Anonymous said...

Rigoletto, put in the right pwd when extracting them: melanchthon

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you very much, Mel

Dirk Bill said...

This is tremendous, I have never heard Cherkassky, not that I remember or knew of, and this particular program is full of some of my favorite music, so thank you for posting this!