Collection: Shura Cherkassky Live

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Berg,Britten,Rachmaninov,Ravel,Scriabin,Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 4; Three Movements from Petrushka; Sonatine; Piano Sonata, Op. 1; Holiday Diary; Prelude and Fugue in E minor, Op. 35/1; Toccata, Adagio & Fugue, BWV 564; Paganini Variations, Book 2; Theme and Variations in F; Corelli Variations
PERFORMER: Shura Cherkassky (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 433 657-2, 433 655-2 ADD

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The death of Shura Cherkassky just after Christmas 1995 has saddened the entire musical world. We had all tended to think of this tirelessly fresh, often visionary musician as indomitable and indestructible. The seventh and eighth discs in Decca’s ‘Shura Cherkassky Live’ series function both as a tribute to a unique artist and as proof that he will remain indestructible. Vol. 7 finds Cherkassky on a lightning world tour of the early to mid-20th century. Beginning with a luminously poetic account of Scriabin’s Fourth Sonata, Cherkassky gives us a sensual and exquisitely coloured Ravel Sonatine and Berg Sonata; Petrushka is slower than many other versions but makes up for a lack of sprightliness with attention to detail. Britten’s Holiday Diary is a special treat – little played elsewhere but well worth hearing. Vol. 8 steers its way through some more substantial pieces; here Cherkassky delivers Mendelssohn, Bach/Busoni and Brahms with sobriety and majesty, while the Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov variation sets are given an edge of exoticism and nostalgia. Although recording dates, ranging from 1973 to 1989, are listed (these are BBC recordings, incidentally), we are not told which piece was recorded when. Sound quality varies, though it is basically good, and there is always applause between pieces. Jessica Duchen