The program of this album of music by Shostakovich (or, since you are dealing with a French release here, "Chostakovich") is heterogenous, consisting of the two piano concertos plus the 24 Preludes, Op. 34. So, too, are the performances. You may or may not like the album from start to finish, but Russian pianist Andrei Korobeinikov deserves credit for covering some well-trodden ground and blazing fresh paths. Herewith: one listener's ranking. Korobeinikov's recording of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102, is one of the very best available, and for this he shares the credit with conductor Okko Kamu and Finland's superbly agile Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Shostakovich himself disparaged this work, which was written for his son, Maxim. Due to that criticism (which really ought not to be trusted any more than other statements by composers subject to moods of the moment) and to its rather conservative language, this concerto has often gotten short shrift from performers, who take very fast tempos and tend to treat it as a kind of technical exercise. This is one of the few performances (Leonard Bernstein's classic reading with the New York Philharmonic is another, but this one is perhaps even more detailed) to slow down and let the music's considerable sprightly grace emerge. The Concerto No. 1 for piano, trumpet, and orchestra in C minor, Op. 35, is hardly less satisfying, with an expansive reading and some very fine trumpet tone from Mikhail Galduk. In both of these performances Korobeinikov and Kamu execute fine realizations of models that, while not exactly common, have been done before. The 24 Preludes, Op. 34, are another story entirely. Part of the genius of these pieces from the early 1930s, and of the later 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, is that they pay tribute to the past without being "neo-classic" works; they contain elements of Chopin's preludes and of Bach's without really resembling either one. Korobeinikov, however, pushes them into the Chopin mold, with massive tempo fluctuations, heavy use of the pedals, and in general a heavily Romantic approach. The reading somehow seems not of a piece with the rest of the album, which suggests the degree of the excellent Okko Kamu's influence, and it doesn't quite fit with the rest of the musical personality of the young Shostakovich. But it is fresh, and it merits consideration, especially where there is a very compelling reason, in the form of the Piano Concerto No. 2, to add this well-recorded album to one's Shostakovich shelf.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concerto pour piano et trompette No. 1 en ut mineur, Op. 35|
|Vingt-quatre Préludes, Op. 34|
|Concerto pour piano No. 2 en fa majeur, Op. 102|