Monday, May 16, 2016

Shura Cherkassky - The Historic 1940s Recordings

Pearl’s recent Shura Cherkassky reissue appeared concurrently with this truly complete edition of the late pianist’s commercial recordings from the 1940s. All the 78s from the Pearl disc are included in this collection from Ivory Classics, in addition to the pianist’s exceedingly rare Brahms F minor Sonata on Vox, plus 10 selections recorded for HMV. The Brahms suffers from poor, dynamically restricted engineering, not unlike what you might hear in AM radio airchecks from the mid-1940s. Listeners accustomed to Germanic rigor and a firm, bass-oriented architecture may find Cherkassky’s rounded-off, Chopinesque phrasing, arching melodies, and penchant for inner voices (both real and imagined!) bordering on the glib and unidiomatic. For instance, the tempo fluctuations in the Intermezzo undermine the repeated “Funeral March” motive’s cumulative impact. At the same time, Cherkassky’s preoccupation with line clarifies a great deal of detail other pianists merely slog through in the outer movements.
Among the short HMV works, a thoughtful and kitsch-free Liszt Liebesträum is gorgeously voiced and perpetually sung out. Saint-Saëns’ Prelude and Fugue in F minor Op. 90 n° 1 boasts stunning repeated chords, while introspective poetry and magically weighted chords characterize one of the lovliest Chopin F-sharp Impromptus recorded in the 78 era. By contrast, the C major (Op. 68 n° 1) and D major (Op. 333) Mazurkas don’t match the sheer athleticism and soaring rhythm of Rubinstein’s early HMV versions. Cherkassky plays hob with Chopin’s dynamic indications throughout the F minor Fantasy, bringing his ideas of voice leading and accentuation to the table. The results intrigue but don’t cohere in the manner of Solomon’s more grounded, classically poised performance, or Cortot’s forceful reading.
Often the C-sharp minor Etude is played for speed and effect, yet Cherkassky allows the rotary patterns tossing back and forth between the hands to converse, even sharing each others’ thoughts. My verdict on the other selections (including short Russian works and four Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies) remains unchanged since reviewing the aforementioned Pearl CD (type Q3887 in Search Reviews). Ivory Classics’ transfers, however, radically differ from Seth Winner’s for Pearl. Ed Thompson and Victor Ledin use a great deal more noise reduction, along with varying degrees of artificial reverberation. This may appeal to listeners who can’t deal with abundant surface scratch, especially in the case of the noisy Vox items. Others will prefer Winner’s non-interventionist transfer philosophy. In any event, piano collectors should be grateful.
Jed Distler

Source :

Shura Cherkassky
The Historic 1940s Recordings


Cd. 1

Camille Saint-Saëns

1 Prelude and Fugue in F Minor, Op. 90 n° 1  3:7

Serguei Rachmaninov

2 Polka de W. R.  3:39

Francis Poulenc

3 Toccata (from Trois Pièces)  1:57

Cécile Chaminade

4 Autrefois  4:23
(from Six Pièces humoristiques, Op.87,n°4)

Johannes Brahms

Sonata in F Minor, Op.5
5 I. Allegro maestoso  6:49
6 II. Andante espressivo  8:56
7 III. Scherzo. Allegro energico  3:55
8 IV. Intermezzo (Rückblick). Andante molto  3:30
9 V. Finale. Fugue  7:03

Franz Liszt

10 Liebesträum n° 3 in A-Flat Major, S 541  4:17
11 Concert Etuden° 2 'Gnomenreigen, S 145  2:55

Four Hungarian Rhapsodies, S 244
12 N° 5 in E Minor  5:53
13 N° 6 in D-FLat Major  6:08
14 N° 11 in A Minor  4:25
15 N° 15 in A Minor 'Rákóczi March'  4:43


Cd. 2


Aram Khachaturian

1 Toccata  3:08

Nicolas Medtner

2 Fairy Tale in E Minor, Op.34 n° 2  2:25

Serguei Prokofiev

3 Suggestion diabolique,Op. 4 n° 4  2:32

Anatoli Konstantinovitch Liadov

4 Music Box, Op. 32  2:28

Mikhaïl Ivanovitch Glinka

5 Tarentella in A Minor  1:24

Dmitri Shostakovich

6 Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 34 n°10  2:17
7 Prelude in D Minor, Op. 34 n° 24  0:28

Alexandre Scriabin

8 Prelude for the Left-Hand Alone, Op. 9 n° 1  2:41

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovsky

9 October. Autumn Songs,Op. 37bis, n° 10  3:16

Vladimir Rebikov

10 Waltz  1:45
(from The Chistmas Tree, Op. 21)

Morton Gould

11 Prelude and Toccata  4:18
12 Boogie Woogie Etude  2:02

Frédéric Chopin

13 Polonaise in A-Flat Major, Op. 53  6:14
14 Mazurka in C Major, Op. 68 n° 1  1:37
15 Mazurka in D Major, Op. 33 n° 3  2:12
16 Impromptu n° 2 in F-Sharp Major, Op. 36  5:32
17 Fantasie-Impromptu in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66  4:49
18 Fantasie in F Minor, Op. 49  12:34
19 Etude in C Minor, Op. 10 n° 12  2:31
20 Etude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 10 n° 4  2:10


Shura Cherkassky - p

Recorded between 1946 & 1949 ?


Melanchthon said...

Historicus said...

Many thanks, indeed!!!

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thanks again

Hugo said...

Shura Cherkassky - The Historic 1940s Recordings
7zip according to the first file can not be opened, according to winrar the file is damaged

matt said...

These tracks are great! He plays the fuck out of these. Damn. Thanks Mel!

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! Wow! Thanks so much MM!