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Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2

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Product Details

  • Performer: Yablonsky In Ju Bang (Piano); Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Composer: Kabalevsky
  • Audio CD (March 21 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #268,227 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Moderato Quasi Andantino
2. Moderato-Allegro Assai
3. Vivace Marcato
4. Allegro Moderato
5. Andantino Semplice
6. Allegro Molto

Product Description

In-Ju Bang, piano - Orchestre Philharmonique Russe, dir. Dimitri Yablonsky

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Performances June 23 2006
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Unlike Russian composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitry Kabalevsky was a man of the Communist Party. He certainly was a talented musician but, perhaps out of insecurity, would launch some stern (and unwarranted) criticism of the music of his more famous contemporaries. One can read about how Kabalevsky appeared to like such pieces as the 24 Preludes and Fugues and 14th String Quartet of Shostakovich and then savagely criticize the work. When the Zhdanov Decree was issued in 1948, Kabalevsky persuaded party officials to substitute Myaskovsky's name for his own. Sorting through the personality and the music, I have found that his concertos are certainly inspired and beautifully written works which, if not of the same genius as a Shostakovich or a Prokofiev, certainly are a match for Khachaturian and are hardly second rate.

Kabalevsky wrote four symphonies and several massive battle hymns that sought to inspire patriotism during the Second World War. His most enduring works are The Comedians suite, the overture to Colas Breugnon and his concertos. The First Concerto is an early work with the Second Concerto coming seven years later. Both concertos show the influence of Prokofiev (with a touch of Shostakovich at times) and although one can detect the satirical elements of the older composer Kabalevsky keeps the dissonance at a minimum adding a more lyrical touch.

The performances by In-Ju Bang of the First and Second Piano Concertos are superb, and she is ably supported by the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. The better recording of the Second concerto, however, is the Chandos recording played by Kathryn Stott. This first is the more lyrical of two concertos with the second far more sardonic and dissonant. The middle movement of the second is a dark funeral march set in a series of variation that comes very close to sounding like Shostakovich. Both concertos are engaging works that show that Kabalevsky was an excellent composer of the concerto form. My only complaint is that at 56:01 this CD could also have included the Third Concerto easily (timing at around 18 minutes) or some other concerto of Kabalevsky's. Despite this the disc is a great addition to any Russian music collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kabalevsky: Concertos No 1 & 2 May 1 2008
By George M. Tenegal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It was such a pleasure to hear Kabalevsky's first 2 piano concertos, as I have never heard them before. They are really wonderful works, which deserve to be more well known and performed more often. The recording is excellent and a great addition to my library! Thank you!
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tastes Great . . . Less Filling -- But a Marvelous New Pianist Debuts April 30 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The most important thing about this release is the pianist In-Ju Bang, a Korean wunderkind who was just fourteen when the CD was recorded. She has everything -- technique, musicality, personality. Unfortunately, the music she plays here is definitely second-rate; it's conservatively pleasant enough, skillfuly constructed but unmemorable. It sounds a little like Prokofiev or Khachaturian, but has fewer memorable melodies, less harmonic piquancy, and dramatic flourishes that sound half-hearted. That's not the pianist's fault, nor that of the orchestra, the Russian Philharmonic under Dmitry Yablonsky, who play with commitment and skill.

Kabalevsky simply didn't have the talent to rise much above the description just given. He is known for his charming 'Comedians Suite' and music from his opera, 'Colas Breugnon', but even that music is rarely heard these days after achieving great popularity fifty years ago. This CD is for Kabalevsky completists, and for those who want to hear the debut of a talented young pianist.


Scott Morrison
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second tier music but great performances March 31 2006
By Classical Music Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ok, so Kabalevsky was no Shostakovich or Prokofiev (his immediate contemporaries) nor even a Khachaturian or Myaskovksy but there is much in this music to enjoy especially when these concertos are given the excellent performances that they do here. The highlight of the disc is the richly melodic second movement of the first concerto. If you like Rachmaninov give this a listen!