Manfred Honeck, conductor
Classical CDs: Gerstein, Gaffigan do justice to Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1
By Patrick Rucker
In Boston, 140 years ago this October, Hans von Bülow played the world premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece that within decades became the most popular concerto for piano ever written. Van Cliburn’s recording in 1958 was the first classical album to sell more than 1 million copies (it eventually topped out at more than 3 million.)
It has long been known that the concerto existed in three successive versions, and it is the last of these that we know so well today. But recently, scholars have come to the conclusion that this familiar version includes a number of changes made by editors after Tchaikovsky’s death and that the authentic score, containing the composer’s true intentions, is the second version of 1879. This is the version that the Russian American pianist Kirill Gerstein and American conductor James Gaffigan have recorded with the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin.
Following a performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in Winterhur, Switzerland on 4 June, further performances for Kirill Gerstein this month include Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic and Jiří Bělohlávek on Wednesday 17 June; Liszt’s Transcendental Études at the Liszt Festival in Raiding, Austria on Thursday 18 June; Strauss’s Enoch Arden with Bruno Ganz as narrator in Iffeldorf, Germany on Sunday 21 June; and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the St Petersburg Philharmonic under Mikhail Jurowski in St Petersburg, Russia on Thursday 25 June.
Kirill Gerstein returns to London’s Wigmore Hall tomorrow on Thursday 14 May to play Liszt’s Transcendental Études, Bach’s Three-Part Inventions and Bartók’s Mikrokosmos (selection). You can listen to Kirill playing in the studio and speaking with BBC Radio 3’s Sean Rafferty about his recital today on In Tune from 5.30pm (UK time).
Pianist Kirill Gerstein returns to the New York Philharmonic with performances of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 conducted by Susanna Mälkki on Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 22 at 11:00 a.m. and Saturday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m. The program will also include Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Harvey’s Tranquil Abiding.
Press Release from the New York Philharmonic