Vladimir Feltsman: The Complete Columbia Album Collection

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In summer 1987, nine years after he first requested permission to emigrate, the 35-year-old Russian pianist Vladimir Feltsman was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union. Feltsman, who had studied at the Moscow Conservatory with the legendary Yakov Flier and won first prize at the prestigious Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris at the age of 19, arrived in New York amid a welter of publicity. CBS Masterworks offered him a recording contract, while President Ronald Reagan welcomed him to the White House for a recital that was glowingly reviewed in the New York Times.

When Feltsman made his Carnegie Hall debut two months later, the Times hailed him as “an artist of wide musical interests who on this occasion included three pieces from Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésusto set off more popular works by Schubert and Schumann … Mr. Feltsman took an aptly spacious and relaxed approach to the first two movements [of Schubert’s A major Sonata D 664)] … He then let loose in the more brilliant Allegro finale with an impressive display of breathtaking scales … In the Messiaen, Mr. Feltsman drew out its great, clashing sonorities and made light of its technical terrors. At the conclusion of Schumann’sSymphonic Etudes, any lingering doubts about Mr. Feltsman’s pianistic strengths or artistic instincts were blown away.”

Interest in Feltsman’s pianism had already been piqued before the pianist set foot in the New World by a performance, released by CBS in 1986, of the Chopin Preludes recorded in Moscow. “Feltsman sweeps through the 24 Preludes with genuine poetic bravura,” wrote the Los Angeles Times. “There is a daring and Romantic fire in the playing which only add to the agony of his plight.”

Now Sony Classical is reissuing that Carnegie debut recital from 1987, a Russian Chopin recording that preceded it and an even earlier Schubert recital, from Paris in 1978, along with all the other Feltsman performances captured by CBS mics before his collaboration with the label ended in 1989. Among them are a live Liszt recital including the B minor Sonata and a live Rachmaninoff coupling of the Third Concerto andRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic: “Feltsman’s pianistic control compels admiration. He is a commanding player.” (Gramophone).

He also recorded the First and Third Tchaikovsky concertos with Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich, who, wrote Gramophone’s reviewer, “coaxes out playing of the very highest quality – rich-toned, idiomatic in inflexion, with just the right degree of thrust when required … [Feltsman’s] is a relatively laid back view of the First Concerto – no screaming in the outer movements, no flash-fingered shallowness in the central prestissimo of the slow movement. The big first movement cadenza is wonderfully fluid and continuous, and the transition into the following coda is a dream. There is much sensitive dialogue between piano and orchestra, well captured by the recording … a performance one can learn from, and the Third Concerto goes splendidly.”

Feltsman’s last CBS recording featured the first two Prokofiev Piano Concertos and ten pieces from Romeo and Juliet: “One has only to hear the refinement of colour he produces in ‘Romeo bids Juliet farewell’ … or the clarity and lightness of articulation in the First Concerto to realize that he possesses not only formidable fingers but very considerable artistry … The LSO under Michael Tilson Thomas produce excellent support … Again [in Concerto No. 2] there is splendid pianism from Feltsman and cultured playing from Tilson Thomas and the LSO.”


Chopin: Préludes, Op. 28

Schubert: Fantasy in C Major, Op. 15, D. 760 "Wanderer"    
Schubert: Moments musicaux, Op. 94, D. 780    

Schubert: Sonata for Piano in A Major, Op. 120, D. 664    
Messiaen: Vingt regards sur L'enfant-Jésus    

Schumann: Symphonic Études (Variations) in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 13    
Rachmaninoff: Prélude in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12    
Beethoven: 6 Variations on an Original Theme in D Major, Op. 76    

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30    
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43    
Conductor: Zubin Mehta
Performer: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-Flat Major, Op. 10    
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16 (1923 Version)    
Prokofiev: 10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75: No. 10, Romeo and Juliet before Parting    
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas 
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra 

Liszt: Sonata in B Minor
Liszt: Tre Sonetti di Petrarca
Liszt: St. Francis d'Assise: La predication aux oiseaux

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 75: Allegro brillante
Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich 
Orchestra: National Symphony Orchestra 

Product Description:

  • Release Date: July 05, 2019

  • Catalog Number: 19075911432

  • UPC: 190759114322

  • Label: Sony Music Entertainment

  • Number of Discs: 8

  • Conductor: Zubin Mehta, MIchael Tilson Thomas, Mstislav Rostropovich

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Vladimir Feltsman