The resonances of the music of Dmitry Shostakovich, a composer who engaged with but did not mimic the past and who uniquely captured in music the experience of repression, continue to grow. His 24 Preludes for piano, Op. 34, have attracted a veritable horde of recordings, with a variety as great as that which have attended Chopin's preludes and Bach's preludes and fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier, both antecedents. This live recording by pianist David Kadouch (born in 1985) is distinctive, beautifully controlled, and perhaps representative of a new French pianistic school that prizes detail, articulation, and subtlety of texture. Kadouch avoids an overall characterization of the Preludes, treating each one as an individual and breaking down the phrase structure to a very detailed level. The pairing of the Preludes with the Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57, is odd but somehow compelling, with the quintet's grimness and its big, tragic second-movement fugue providing a foil for the essentially high-spirited neo-classicism of the Preludes. Kadouch gets expert help in defining the sharply divided spheres of piano and strings from the members of the Quatuor Ardeo, none of them much older than he is. A much-above-average recording of some Shostakovich standards that bodes well for the continuing growth in the composer's reputation.
Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Quintet in G minor Review
by James Manheim