National Arts Centre Orchestra
Alexander Shelley, conductor
Having opened the new season with a performance of the new urtext edition of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in Verona with the London Philharmonic Orchestra as well as making return appearances at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, the latter half of September sees Kirill Gerstein appear in concerto performances with the hr-Sinfonieorchester under Edward Gardner (24-25 September) for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under James Gaffigan (30 September, 1 and 3 October) for Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.
Just prior to these performances, Gerstein joins forces again with Bruno Ganz for a presentation of Strauss’s Enoch Arden in Switzerland paired with Liszt’s Transcendental Études.
Pianist Kirill Gerstein has received an ECHO Klassik Award in the category “Concerto Recording of the Year (19th Century Music)” for his world premiere recording of the 1879 version of Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16, performed with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and conducted by James Gaffigan. The recording was released in the U.S. in March 2015 by Myrios Classics.
For the recording, Mr. Gerstein was granted special access from the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin (Moscow) to new score material based on the latest musicological research and Tchaikovsky’s own conducting score from his last public concert. A new critical Urtext edition of the score was published by the Tchaikovsky Museum in 2015 in association with the 175th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Kirill Gerstein said, “When I first heard of the research by the Tchaikovsky archive in Klin into the urtext version of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, I knew that this was a project I wanted to be involved in. Since then, it has been my mission to draw attention to the version of this concerto that Tchaikovsky himself conducted. I am honored and thrilled by the recognition awarded our recording by the ECHO Klassik Prize.”
From Santa Fe and Aspen to Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne, August sees Kirill Gerstein travel across the world to give nine concerts with three different orchestras in the space of three weeks. On 6 August, Kirill performs Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra under Fabien Gabel. The following day, he gives a solo recital featuring music by Bartók, Bach and Liszt at Auckland’s War Memorial Museum.
He returns to Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto two weeks later when he joins the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis from 20-22 August. In between, he gives three performances of the composer’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’ with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under James Gaffigan (12, 14 and 15 August) as well as a solo recital with the same programme of music from 7 August at Sydney’s City Recital Hall (17 August).
In the midst of US performance this month at the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Kirill Gerstein gives the new Urtext edition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which he recently released with myrios classics, its German première on Sunday 12 July. Playing in Stuttgart with the Staatsorchester Stuttgart under Manfred Honeck, a second performance of the piece will take place on 13 July.
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.