The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Kirill Gerstein’s new myrios classics CD featuring Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev due to be released on February 9January 21st, 2015
Kirill’s new myrios classics disc, featuring the world première recording of the 1879 version ofTchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto alongside Prokofiev’s second Piano Concerto, is now available to pre-order on www.amazon.co.uk. The CD is due to be released on Monday 9 February. Find a link and further information below, and watch this space for release dates in other countries.
“Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto is one of the most famous pieces in classical music. Surprisingly, the edited version of the concerto that has prevailed in the last hundred years of performances is one that Tchaikovsky neither approved nor conducted himself.”
Kirill Gerstein, October 2014
Kirill Gerstein’s first orchestral recording, to be released by myrios classics in February 2015, marks the world première recording of the 1879 version of Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto. Based on Tchaikovsky’s own conducting score from his last public concert, the new critical Urtext edition will be published in 2015 by the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin, tying in with Tchaikovsky’s 175th anniversary and marking 140 years since the concerto’s world première in Boston, in 1875. For the recording, Kirill was granted special pre-publication access to the new Urtext edition.
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 exists in three versions. Despite negative criticism from pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky had the first version of the concerto published in 1875. The second version, which has been recorded here, incorporated small practical adjustments to the piano part made by Tchaikovsky. It was published in 1879 and used by him in subsequent performances including in 1893 at the last concert he conducted when he paired the Piano Concerto with the world première of his Pathétique Symphony.
Tchaikovsky died within days of the performance, and the third version of the Concerto was published a year after his death. According to Kirill it “contains a number of editorial changes that differ from the text of Tchaikovsky’s own score, were not authorized by him and made posthumously.”
Illustrating some of the most noticeable differences, Kirill describes the familiar chords of the piano’s first entrance as they appear in the second version: “every second and third beat is arpeggiated, thus giving the melody a more differentiated and flexible metric impulse which alters the way the orchestra plays the theme of the introduction.” As Kirill explains there are many examples of different dynamics and articulations in Tchaikovsky’s own version that point to “a more lyrical and Schumannesque conception of the piece.” In his recording, Kirill restores a cut in the middle of the third movement which destabilized the structural balance of the movement in the third version. “In summary, the editorial changes made to the third version added a flavour of superficial brilliance to the piece which at the same time took away from its genuine musical character. The new edition allows us to turn back to Tchaikovsky’s original intentions.”
For this world première recording, on which Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto is paired with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16, Kirill is joined by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by James Gaffigan. The chequered history of Prokofiev’s second Piano Concerto also resulted in a second version. As Kirill explains, “composed in 1913, Prokofiev left the original manuscript of the second Concerto in Russia and during one of the cold winters during the tumultuous period of the Russian revolution the score was used by his neighbours for heating the stove. He reconstructed and revised the composition premièring the second version of the concerto in Paris in 1924.”
Kirill’s latest album, Imaginary Pictures is a classical critics’ pick of “Top Music Recordings of 2014″ in The New York Times.
Kirill had rave reviews for his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov over the weekend. To listen again to his account of Shostakovich’s 2nd piano concerto on the ORF’s website click here.
Glowing reviews in the Austrian Press for Kirill Gerstein’s performance with the Vienna PhilharmonicNovember 26th, 2014
‘Kirill Gerstein shone with brilliantly agile pianistic ease’, Die Presse, 24 November 2014
‘With Kirill Gerstein everything just worked. Seemingly endless sparkling runs, magical nuances (delicate Andante!). The apparent lightness with which pianist Gerstein countered the ensemble was admirable. It was a truly humorous interpretation’, Wiener Zeitung, 25 November 2014
‘Gerstein served the music entirely, shaping the fast rhythmic passages with the same attention to details as the lyrical, tender melodies’, Kurier, 24 November 2014
Great review from BBC Music Magazine for Kirill’s performance with BBC Symphony Orchestra under James Gaffigan at London’s Barbican Centre on 12 November 2014:
“I doubt [Schoenberg] could have resisted this crackling performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, in Ferde Grofé’s spartan 1926 orchestration, with just five strings. The long, sleazy clarinet slide still has the power to provoke in a concert hall, while sizzling muted trumpet and trombone solos raised the temperature to match Gerstein’s fiery delivery.”
If you are in the UK, listen again to Kirill’s concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and James Gaffigan at the Barbican Centre, playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Schoenberg’s Concerto for Piano, available on BBC Radio 3 ‘s website.