Author Topic: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues  (Read 36700 times)

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Offline hvbias

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #200 on: September 13, 2021, 01:35:12 PM »
Presto has it as downloads at a low price (for 3 CDs-worth) which I couldn't resist even though I do have my reservations about the recording.  Fortunately I know and like the Stevenson 'filler'.
The pdf booklet is included but the notes are fairly superficial but do include a couple of generalised insights into the music that I haven't read anywhere else.  Apparently if you buy the vinyl you get "a limited edition printed insert of the 'cryptogram' that Shostakovich used as his musical signature"  ::)

I'm not diligent enough to have proper backups which is why I prefer buying CDs. I'm also considering being a luddite and adding something like a DCS, Esoteric, Naim or Audio Aero CD player to one of my setups :)

Offline milk

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #201 on: October 12, 2021, 03:47:27 AM »
Interesting thanks.  I'd overlooked him, must backtrack and listen.

It was your post in WAYL2N that alerted me, and I scurried off to Spotify.  Have listened to 1-12 so far, will not get around to 13-16 until tomorrow, and the final eight only if I'm still enjoying the rest.
 
What stands out - well I have to say mostly it's the piano sound which to my ears is verging on the clangorous.  ???  Sort of, the sonic equivalent to the cover image (below).  :o :o  I'm kinda dreading getting to the Stevenson Passacaglia if the sound is going to be the same for that.  Possibly it's an incompatibility with my speakers which sometimes are not as laid-back as I could wish, and a forward, bright piano recording is just the sort of thing that sets them off.  A lot of sustain gives the right-hand notes a tinkling bell-like quality. 
[edit - I now have the booklet and note that the Passacaglia was recorded in a different location - hopefuly a bit less lively and ringy.  Incidentally the P&F was a Covid recording - May 2020 - in the famous (for recording) Jesus-Christus-Kirche.]

Apart from that, first impressions of the performance are that it's fairly neutral (think: Weichert) but with very pointed articulation (think: Lin).  The shorter faster pieces are taken very quickly - actually quite attractive - the slow fugues about par for the course, meaning not quite as slow as I would wish.  But I greatly prefer the piano sound in those two recordings (and most others) compared with Levit.
[edit - Levit absolutely excels in No.12 (both Prelude and Fugue) and even more so in No.15 where both are right up his alley.  Conversely, Prelude 14 is a failure - where's the thunder?? ]


Shostakovich: Preludes & Fugues - Stevenson: Passacaglia on DSCH - Igor Levit

Interesting. Musicweb calls it "a landmark recording." I don't know. I guess I need many more listens. It seems to me that one's Shostakovich is only as good as one's Bach. How's his Bach? But there are so many choices I'm not sure that this one stands out so far above.
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2021/Oct/Shostakovich-preludes-19439809212.htm

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #202 on: October 12, 2021, 08:49:48 AM »
Well that review is at least partly about the Stevenson Passacaglia as much as the Shostakovich P&F, which is fair enough given that the title of the release is "On DSCH" implying that the Stevenson is much more than just a glorified filler.  I've wanted to write about the Stevenson (from the vantage point that this is the 4th recording I have, and probably not the best) but to do so here at any length would be to derail this thread.

As far as the P&F goes, one thing this thread has shown is that it's not just (as Musicweb implies) a question of Nikolayeva vs the latest wunderkind recording.  There are plenty of alternatives and although I agree with the review that Levit finishes well (majestically, in the final fugue) it's a rather long haul to get to that point and overall (IMHO) most of the other recordings have better piano sound and many offer comparable interpretive insight.  I think you don't go far wrong with Weichert, in a middle-of-the-road sort of way.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 08:53:44 AM by aukhawk »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #203 on: October 12, 2021, 01:12:13 PM »
Interesting. Musicweb calls it "a landmark recording." I don't know. I guess I need many more listens.

Or it may be hyperbole on the part of the Musicweb writer ....
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Offline Madiel

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #204 on: October 12, 2021, 05:40:13 PM »
I rarely find musicweb reviews enlightening to be honest. Though it's a better-written review than a lot on that site (though it gets the date of Nikolayeva's recording wrong).

I haven't listened to Levit myself yet. If I had it would be on this thread.  :laugh:
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #205 on: October 13, 2021, 01:47:13 AM »
Oh it's good.  Just not head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest good, as the review seeks to imply. 
And the Stevenson Passacaglia is the sort of music you only need to hear once in every 10 years ... it broadly divides into 3 sections (although the music is continuous) and I think the 2nd and 3rd sections are much more likeable music than the 1st.  Rather unfortunate because the 1st 20 minutes or so can be a bit off-putting in a head-banging sort of way.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues
« Reply #206 on: October 15, 2021, 06:37:38 AM »
"Igor Levit’s peculiar and unique combination of the Germanic and Russian traditions of piano playing" I wonder what the MusicWeb reviewer means by this. With current recording pianists I can't tell any particular "Russian style" of piano playing since the days of direct Neuhaus taught pianists. I wonder if he would have still made such a statement if we was listening to Levit's recordings blind.