Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues

Started by The Mad Hatter, June 07, 2007, 03:04:39 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Quote from: aukhawk on March 16, 2023, 04:32:12 AMJust reviving/revisiting this topic to say how much I have been enjoying the recording by Hannes Minnaar since it was released about 6 months ago.  Although there are two or three other recordings I would not want to be without, Minnaar is clearly my first go-to at the present.  His soft-centered approach - legato playing, generally middling tempi, even dynamic, pellucid piano tone very well recorded - won't suit everybody.  Those who wish to hear something of the ascerbic side of Shostakovich won't find it here.  But I like it just fine - previously one of my favourites was Kori Bond (not much liked by Madiel upthread), and Minnaar inhabits much the same space but better in every way, particularly in his luxurious piano tone so well captured.

I've also listened to or at least sampled a few other new-to-me recordings in the last 6 months - Konstantin Scherbakov, seems very good, worthy of consideration in the top rank, rather close or dry recording - David Jalbert, inclined to quicker tempi, didn't really grab my attention much - Roger Woodward, an older recording this but still OK for sound, and consistently very speedy, sometimes outdone only by the composer himself (who seemed to like 'fast' when playing the piano).  I liked Woodward enough to seek out some of his other recordings and found much to enjoy, from Bach to Takemitsu.

However my other main standbys and recommendations alongside Minnaar remain Tatiana Nikolayeva (either II (Melodiya/Alto) or III (Hyperion)) for her authoritative take - though note these are very much 'her' readings and often radically different from the composer's own on record - remarkable when you consider how closely asssociated they were during the time this music was composed.  And Jenny Lin for her contrasted approach to Minnaar or Nikolayeva, hard, fast and articulate, and possibly the best piano recording of them all.  Also for a straight down the middle version, very good in every way, Caroline Weichert gets a mention from me, but possibly, I don't know, maybe bland to a fault - I must admit that although I do admire this version, personally I'm always going to gravitate to one of Minnaar, Nikolayeva or Lin.


Nikolayeva (Alto, and Hyperion)


I've been listening to Minnaar and Jalbert, both new-ish to me. I find Minnaar the less interesting of the two, with Jalbert giving me a more involving experience.

To keep it brief and use a single piece - E minor fugue. Minnaar sounds like he has compartmentalized this fugue into three distinct sections and it never flows or sounds all that emotionally involving, that compartmentalization gives it a detached quality. It reminds me most of how Víkingur Ólafsson approaches Bach. Jalbert on the other hand is gorgeously interpreted and it sounds like a single fugue visioned as a whole as his dynamic changes throughout the piece aren't as radically sharp but shape themselves in a more natural way. Overall Jalbert has left me extremely impressed.

I still have not made it past P/F 8 with Levit which is strange since I usually listen to his recordings a couple of times when they come out (exception being the Beethoven cycle which I spread over long period as I didn't care much for it). I guess I had op. 87 in my heavy rotation when his came out.

Jalbert has the potential to rise to the top of my favorite cycles.


Has anyone heard this? The Shostakovich op. 87 is very cool, almost detached. I've never heard any other pianist interpret it like this. I'm not entirely convinced with alternating them with Shchedrin.

Mirror Image

I recently acquired the Keith Jarrett recording on ECM and loved the performance. Other versions I own: Nikolayeva (Melodiya), Ashkenazy (Decca), Melnikov (Harmonia Mundi) and Scherbakov (Naxos). They're all excellent in their own way. Melnikov remains my favorite as there seems to be a somberness to his performance that fits the mood of the work. Kurt Sanderling once remarked that this work was like Shostakovich's most intimate diary.
"You cannot set art off in a corner and hope for it to have vitality, reality, and substance." ― Charles Ives