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Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov - Leschenko / Argerich / Poltera / Lakatos

Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov - Leschenko / Argerich / Poltera / Lakatos

Avanti  1021-2

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 "Classical" (trans. two pianos by Rikuya Terashima), Piano Sonata No. 7, Cello Sonata Op. 119, March from "l'Amour des Trois Oranges"
Tchaikovsky: Melodie from "Souvenir d'un Lieu Cher" Op. 42
Rachmaninov: Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14 (arr. Roby Lakatos)

Christian Poltera (cello)
Roby Lakatos (violin)
Polina Leschenko & Martha Argerich (pianos)

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Review by John Broggio - August 5, 2006

After Avanti's treatment of Argerich in Franck, Debussy, Schumann - Schwarzberg, Argerich, I was a little wary of what might be lurking in this disc but for almost of all of the contents my fears have been thrown out of the window!

The undeniable performing star of the show is Polina Leschenko (new to me) who, having played a part in the Martha Argerich Progetto at the Lugano Festival, is taking the best parts of Argerich's own style of playing and applying them to repertoire that suit her down to the ground. I hope to hear a great deal more from this superb young pianist.

The sense of freedom, supreme virtuosity and sheer pleasure is hard to match and, Lakatos apart, Leschenko's partners are willingly responding in a similar style. One's ears can barely detect the decrease from 2 piano's (in the "symphony") to 1 piano, such is the appropriate change in delicacy that Argerich & Leschenko provide. The "symphony" is a joy to the hear, surprisingly one does not miss the orchestra much given the lightness & variety of touch and the dazzling virtuosity on display here. This alone would make the disc a compulsory purchase for the pianophile community.

The seventh sonata immediately follows (the breaks between works are arguably a little too short) and is given a dramatic and compelling interpretation. Occasionally, the crystalline recording allows the pedalling to be heard in the wrong way (try the opening of the finale) but it is to Leschenko's credit that whilst listening to this, the only thought's going through my mind were about Prokofiev's great music (not how another pianist managed so & such section in a more convincing way). In the finale, Leschenko manages to make parts sound like jazz, a new way for me which is wholly convincing and very refreshing.

Leschenko is then joined by another young artist, Christian Poltera, for a highly charged and dramatic account of the late Cello sonata that was performed by Rostropovich & Richter. It must be said that Poltera and Leschenko capture the volatility and passion that these two giants bought to the score and it is a far more viscerally exciting but no less satisfying reading than given here Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Britten: Cello Sonatas - Wispelwey/Lazic. Poltera and Leschenko are more outwardly expressive and virtuostic but both ways are a successful response to the score; we can safely choose either account.

Roby Lakatos then joins in on all the last three tracks. It is at this point that I find myself marvelling at Leschenko's superb musicianship and wishing the Lakatos had responded in the same way as Poltera and Argerich before him. Lakatos' playing has some mannerisms that some will enjoy as a diversion from the normal style of playing but personally they grated against my thoughts of how Tchaikovsky should be played. No matter, this is one of four "encores" and shouldn't dissuade anyone from buying what is otherwise a wholly remarkable disc.

The remaining three pieces are altogether more successful. Firstly, we have Heifitz's arrangement of the March from Prokofiev's The Love of Three Oranges despatched at lightning speed which just convinces but is thrilling playing in its own right! Next, we are given a very heavily sugared Vocalise of Rachmaninov (arranged by Lakatos so this is understandable) for piano trio. Once this is finished, keep listening as after a long pause, on the same track, there is a fizzing arrangement of Khachaturian's Sabre Dance from Gayaneh (for Lakatos and Leschenko).

The engineering is superb throughout, although some may find it almost too revealing. Positions of all protagonists are wonderfully precise, demonstrating Lakatos' penchant for getting carried away by what he is playing...

Tremendously enjoyable and highly recommended! I have had trouble playing anything else recently...

(Purchased)

Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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