American Record Guide
Music & Arts CD-1210
Reviewed by Alan Becker
GOLTZ: Scherzo; 24 Preludes;
CHOPIN: Nocturnes in F, D-flat; Waltz in B minor; Polonaise in A-flat
Music & Arts 1210 - 55 minutes
Boris Goltz (1913-42) is yet another tragic figure who died young as a result of war. Born in Tashkent, he moved with his family to Leningrad, where he attended the Central Music College. As a pianist he helped his family by accompanying silent films at the movie theaters. In 1934 he was admitted to the Leningrad Conservatory where he wrote these Preludes during his second year of study.
While the album boasts "Complete Works for Solo Piano", his very limited output is supplemented by some Chopin selections, listed only on the back of the box.
All of this is played by a Moscow-born pianist who now resides in Oakland, California. On the basis of just these few piano works, one could say that Goltz's premature departure from this earth denied us the talents of a potentially major figure in the annals of Russian music. If you enjoy Prokofieff, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin you will be glad to know that the influence of each comes through without ever dominating the whole. Goltz speaks with his own voice, and an impressive voice it is.
The Scherzo, at only four minutes, a wild demonic rattling of bones in quest of a whirlwind conclusion. This wildness is present as well in many of the Preludes; they hold to Chopin's brevity without ever sounding like the Polish master. There is a glint of Rachmaninoff every so often but only enough to remind us of that master's domination of keyboard technique. There is also a certain Russian brooding that enters the scene in the slower Preludes. The fourth of these, and the longest at just over three minutes, is particularly beautiful in its Russian soul. How astonishing that music of this quality should remain unknown for so long.
The Chopin grouping consists of two Nocturnes (Op. 15:1 and Op. 27:2), the Op. 69:2 Waltz, and the Op. 53 Polonaise. The notes, while quite informative about Goltz, say nothing about the Chopin. Podobedov is too fine a pianist to be ignored. His Chopin is beautifully proportioned, rubato is sensitively handled, and the four selections come up fresh and distinguished when compared with the scads of recordings available.
Despite the timing, few will feel cheated if they purchase this, but all will wish there were more from this outstanding pianist. The recording, from the Pavel Slobodkin Center in Moscow, is well engineered.
HAYDN, PROKOFIEV, SCHUMANN, LYADOV
Haydn: Sonata in E-Flat Major, Hob.XVI:49
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83
Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9
CF-884 is a stunning live performance taped at Schoenberg Hall, University of California at Los Angeles, 15 May, 1999.
Cristofori CF-884 is available directly from:
THE CRISTOFORI FOUNDATION
9206 Rogues Road
Suggested donation: $15.00 plus $2.75 postage/packing (suggested total: $17.75.) The Cristofori Foundation is a not-for-profit organization as defined by section 501(c)3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code and all donations are tax-deductible. All profits from this recording are donated to the Piedmont Regional Orchestra.
Sergei Podobedov plays Bach/Busoni, Liadov, Boris Goltz and Chopin, reviewed by DAVID BRAID
Like many fields, the world of classical virtuosi, particularly that of the piano, suffers from over-production. The glut of apparently 'gifted', 'brilliant', 'breathtaking' but ultimately uninteresting, performers (if one is honest) serves only to dull the senses of the genuine music enthusiast. What, one may ask, can one hope to gain from attending the Wigmore Hall to hear 'yet another Russian' play Chopin and Scriabin? Well, in this case, rather more than one could have possibly expected.
Starting with the Bach/Busoni Chaconne is a statement in itself, so that even before hearing a single phrase, one has some idea of the sheer guts of this player. With a programme being a type of musical form on a macro scale, the two 'pillars' at either end of this recital (Chopin's 3rd Sonata was the last piece of the concert) gave a clear and defined overall sense of shape. This acute sense of form was echoed in the performer's clear-headed interpretations that took good account of long-term ramifications both within and across the movements.
The two (apparently) opposing dynamics, that of instinct and intellect are usually given equal attention in a favourable review in order to give some idea of the balanced, yet passionate, quality of the performer. This is ultimately pointless as nothing in words can give any real idea of the experience of actually being at a concert. So what can one say about Sergei's playing? Well, I for one certainly left the concert with a new understanding of the pieces played and a sense that one had just witnessed a singular event.
The usual descriptions: extremely powerful technique, clear phrasing, balanced voicing within the chords, infectious communication, etc -- yes, they all apply here without question, but the really interesting point was the transcendence above these paltry descriptions achieved by a musician who is bristling with highly original ideas.
The two other composers on the programme, Anatoly Liadov and Boris Goltz, also deserve a mention. The latter, who died at only 29 years old, could clearly have gone on to achieve great things; Podobedov's idea to record a CD of his work deserves immediate financial attention. Liadov, less obscure, though rightly coming into some prominence, possessed a lyric quality quite unlike his contemporaries.
To those who missed this concert I can only suggest that one does not miss his return to London next year and go and buy his CD of Haydn, Prokofiev, Schumann and Liadov.
Copyright � 29 May 2005 David Braid, Oxford UK
Sergei Podobedov's recital took place at the Wigmore Hall, London UK on 8 May 2005. Podobedov's CD of Haydn, Prokofiev, Schumann and Liadov is available from the Cristofori Foundation (Cristofori CF-884).
The author, David Braid, is a composer and final-year doctoral student in composition at Oxford University.
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