LABELS: Koch Schwann
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3; Concert Fantasia in G; Zigeunerweisen; Allegro in C minor; Edison wax cylinder with Tchaikovsky’s voice
PERFORMER: Andrej Hoteev (piano); Tchaikovsky RSO Moscow/Vladimir Fedoseyev
CATALOGUE NO: 3-6490-2
Every overstated case such as this one, positing a ‘new Tchaikovsky’ for the 21st century, needs its villains. Here they are Tchaikovsky’s disciple-editors Ziloti and Taneyev, appearing in the booklet’s photo gallery as ‘falsifiers’ (which is translated into English, adding insult to injury, as ‘forgeries’). Yet it is some time since anyone followed Ziloti’s massive cuts in the Second Piano Concerto – the last three versions I’ve reviewed have all been absolutely complete – and without Taneyev’s orchestration of the Third Concerto’s slow movement and finale, Hoteev and Fedoseyev could only have given us the usual opening ‘Allegro de concert’. Annotator Edvard van den Hoogen offers some plausible theories, but the notion that this concerto marks a Berlioz-style ‘return to life’ after the Sixth Symphony is not among them; the work is merely refashioned from the E flat major symphony Tchaikovsky abandoned before the Pathétique.
Yet this is the one essential disc of the three; it also includes a recently authenticated Liszt-Tchaikovsky potpourri of Hungarian gypsy melodies and an 1890 Edison wax cylinder of an animated conversation in which Tchaikovsky plays a small part. Hoteev’s performance of the First Piano Concerto contains a few fairly crucial extra bars in the finale, but otherwise throws out excitement along with superficial bravura in its over-careful philosophy. In the Second Concerto and the wonderful Concert Fantasia Hoteev lacks Donohoe’s sheer exhilaration in the many heavyweight solos and Elisabeth Leonskaja’s sense of introspective fantasy (Teldec). Many of Fedoseyev’s slower tempi – surely not all ‘authentic’ – compound an end result that is worthy but sometimes a little dull. David Nice