To kick off the new year in 1958, the New York Philharmonic and its music director Leonard Bernstein debuted a new piano concerto by Dimitri Shostakovich. The work, the second of his piano concertos, had been written 10 months before Shostakovich’s son, Maxim, who was 19 at the time. Bernstein, as pianist and conductor, not only performed the U.S. debut, but on January 6 he recorded the work for Columbia Records.
One of the most versatile musicians of the 20th century, Bernstein was a great interpreter of the music of that era. Greatly moved by Shostakovich’s music he was one of the Soviet composer’s greatest champions. The second piano concerto is often referred to as a fiery and youthful work, making it a perfect fit for the mercurial Bernstein. The performance captured here has the same consuming passion we know from his famous recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue.” It may well be the work’s definitive recording.
Impex Records’ LP is a stunning time capsule for classical record production during the golden era of early stereo: minimally miked, full of natural ambience and incredibly dynamic. The Shostakovich concerto was recorded in the enormous Colorama Ballroom of the Saint George Hotel, the location where Bernstein recorded “Rhapsody In Blue” and Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo And Juliet.” The Ravel was recorded on April 7, 1958 in the magical acoustics of the 30thStreet studio. We know the acoustics of this room from such famous recordings as Kind Of Blue, Time Out, Highway 61 Revisited, Barbara Streisand’s debut album, not to mention countless other records by Bernstein, Bruno Walter and Simon and Garfunkel.
|1||Shostakovitch: Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 101|
|Leonard Bernstein no piano e conduzindo a New York Philharmonic|
|2||Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major|
|Leonard Bernstein no piano e conduzindo a Columbia Symphony Oschestra|