19 February, 2010

CDs From The Hong Kong Public Library: Listening Log (3)

CDs From The Hong Kong Public Library: Listening Log (3)

(From Yuen Long)
I was pleasantly surprised to find new additions, the entire Chandos 30th Anniversary box no less. Lydia Mordkovitch played the Shostakovich Violin Concertos magnificently, and needs to yield to none. I have always loved the Scottish National Orchestra under Neeme Jarvi. Another gem is the coupling of a sparkling Shostakovich piano concerto No. 1 (soloist Dimitri Shostakovich, grandson, accompanied by Maxim Shostakovich, son) and the beautiful Chamber Symphony Op110a (conductor Yuli Turovsky). The I Musici de Montreal is fabulous as usual. In comparison, the objective Tchaikovsky 5th by Oslo PO under Mariss Jansons is very good but not quite top drawer.

Alexei Sultanov Live in Japan is a wonderfully fresh sounding recital. Too bad this pianist died young.

Not for everyone is the Schoenberg Piano Concerto played wonderfully by Mitsuko Uchida and the Cleveland Orchestra under Boulez (Philips). The solo pieces are spontaneous sounding as well.

Volume 1 of the Nielsen String Quartets (Dacapo) shows surprisingly sophisticated playing by The Young Danish Quartet. The SACD/CD is magnificent in sound. Wonderful! Now, I wonder if Volume 2 is around...

(From Tsuen Wan)
In contrast, The Grieg String Quartets played by the Raphael Quartet (Regis) pale in comparison. More enticing was the elegant Carmina Quartet's rendition of the Debussy/Ravel (Brilliant Classics). The original Denon recording is magnificent. This is a 2-CD set, coupled to the same composers' even more enigmatic Piano Trios, in somewhat rigid performances by Trio Rouvier/Kantorow/Muller (originally Erato).

Speaking about Grieg, the classic coupling of Grieg/Schumann Piano Concertos were given dynamic readings by the always wonderful Leif Ove Andsnes with the BPO under Mariss Jansons (EMI). Sound is wonderful.

Grigory Solkolov's Chopin's Sonata No. 2 and the Op 25 Etudes (Opus 111) took a little getting used to but I was a great believer by the end of my second listening. Read the Gramophone review.

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