Chopin: Complete Works For Piano & Orchestra / Marshev, Porcelijn

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Most pianists who record both Chopin concertos tend to ignore the composer’s other concerted works for piano and orchestra. As a result, the catalog contains few complete cycles, and they’re uneven at that. Those by Abbey Simon (Vox), Garrick Ohlsson (Hyperion), and Kun-Woo Paik (Decca) consistently satisfy. So does the present release with pianist Oleg Marshev.

Aside from his tone turning slightly metallic and strident in loudest passages, Marshev’s vibrant, fluent, and tastefully inflected pianism fuses power and poetry at every juncture. Listen, for example, to the First Concerto Rondo’s elegantly racing octave runs, to the sustained drama in the central minor episode of the Second Concerto’s Larghetto, or to the perky runs and roulades throughout the Grande Polonaise and you’ll hear what I mean.

Neither Krakowiak’s knotty passagework nor the glittery bravura of the Là ci darem la mano variations pose problems for Marshev’s fingers. What is more, the South Denmark Philharmonic under David Porcelijn offers alert and vividly detailed support that belies any received notions that Chopin’s orchestrations are humdrum. Both soloist and orchestra unify the potentially piecemeal Fantasy on Polish Airs with sharp accents, darkly shaded modal twists, and a real chamber-like repartée. Notice also the gorgeous textural interplay in the Krakowiak’s introduction, with sustained strings, solo horn and clarinet, and the piano’s haunting unison lines. Marshev won’t cause collectors to jettison favorite individual performances, yet his high standards add up to an easy recommendation for those who want all of Chopin’s concerted works together, not to mention Danacord’s superb engineering and Jeremy Nicholas’ succinct, information-packed booklet notes.

-- Jed Distler,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: DACOCD701-702

  • UPC: 5709499701027

  • Label: Danacord Records

  • Composer: Frédéric Chopin

  • Conductor: David Porcelijn

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: South Denmark Philharmonic

  • Performer: Oleg Marshev