Peter Donohoe

Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

There are various ways to approach Shostakovich's set of 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, written in 1950 and 1951 during the period after Shostakovich's second denunciation by the Soviet Communist Party's cultural apparatchiks. Russian pianists especially tend to add a lot of tension, implicitly grouping the pieces with the "desk drawer music" that the composer kept mostly hidden (in fact, the Preludes and Fugues were performed a few times, and were indeed criticized for being too "formalist"). Others have taken these deeply Bach-inspired pieces as straight neoclassicism, keeping the tempi and dynamics within strict boundaries. The veteran English pianist Peter Donohoe takes a different tack, meditative and a bit reverent. It's as though he understands the music as Shostakovich's testament to the value of the great Western tradition even as it was under attack and distortion in his home country. Time and time again you hear, in this reading, passages that sound like pure Shostakovich bumping up against the numerous Bach homages, and being made to sound right at home there. Sample the "Prelude and Fugue in F minor," neither deeply melancholy nor neutral, and quite moving in Donohoe's hands. The massive D minor prelude and fugue at the end has plenty of power, but is kept within the sober confines of Donohoe's overall interpretation. The intimate atmosphere created by Signum's engineers is another draw, and overall this is a worthwhile entry in the crowded field of recordings of these works.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87
1 03:10
2 04:07
3 00:55
4 01:24
5 01:48
6 01:48
7 02:54
8 05:16
9 02:02
10 01:56
11 01:48
12 04:02
13 01:12
14 02:38
15 01:03
16 05:45
17 03:09
18 01:37
19 02:02
20 04:38
21 01:13
22 02:04
23 04:44
24 03:25
25 02:10
26 05:16

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87
1 04:17
2 02:46
3 02:55
4 01:50
5 02:35
6 05:53
7 01:53
8 03:24
9 02:17
10 03:31
11 01:52
12 02:52
13 04:23
14 05:27
15 01:11
16 02:41
17 02:07
18 03:34
19 04:08
20 03:31
21 04:22
22 08:31
blue highlight denotes track pick