Simon Trpčeski, Cristian Măcelaru & Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava - Shostakovich: Piano Concertos & Piano Trio No. 2 - Gramophone

Nearly a quarter of a century separates Dmitry Shostakovich’s two piano concertos. The First dates from 1933, three years prior to the infamous Pravda article officially condemning his opera Lady Macbeth, when Shostakovich was still considered the pre-eminent young Soviet composer. By the time Maxim Shostakovich premiered his father’s Second Piano Concerto in 1957, the composer had survived the Stalinist purges of the Great Terror and endured a second, more sweeping government censure and arduous rehabilitation. What seems remarkable is the similarity of style and spirit of the two works, despite the chasm of traumatic life experience that separates them.

As this new Linn release demonstrates, these two Soviet-era concertos are well suited to Simon Trpčeski’s straightforward brand of pianism. The choice of Andrei Kavalinski, principal of the Orchestre National de France, as trumpet soloist in the First Concerto was felicitous. In the atmospheric second movement, Măcelaru and the Ostrava strings set the stage for the soloists with uncommon care and delicacy. Even though some of the more mordant humour of the finale is lost, Trpčeski nevertheless imbues the movement with an almost Mozartian grace. In the midst of the prevalent bouncy high spirits of the more richly scored Second Concerto, the Andante achieves something akin to genuine pathos.

01 July 2021