Shura Cherkassky – The Complete HMV Stereo Recordings [2CD]

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Diapason Magazine: ‘Diapason D’OR’
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This is a remarkable release…”
(International Piano Magazine)

Shura Cherkassky

Like many other artists, the great Russian pianist Shura Cherkassky fled from what became Soviet Russia and settled in the USA. A student of Josef Hoffman, Cherkassky is considered by many critics to be the last great Romantic pianist. This release is published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Cherkassky’s birth. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in 1956 and 1958, the set’s 26 tracks were remastered at Abbey Road Studios from the original EMI/HMV tapes. Most are issued here in stereo for the first time and many have never before appeared on CD. Of special note are unpublished versions of Chopin’s Ballade No. 3, the Gershwin Preludes and for the first time on CD, Litolff’s Scherzo with BBC Symphony Orchestra led by Malcolm Sargent. This set, which features over two hours of music, is a significant historical classical piano release and provides a major boost to the limited Cherkassky discography currently available.

International Piano Magazine award winner for ‘Best Reissue/Vintage Release of 2009’

Diapason d’Or – October 2010

Press Quotes

“This is a remarkable release… The excellent transfers, made by Ian Jones at Abbey Road Studios, have deliberately left the sound as close to the original as possible…the sound quality is extraordinary… Cherkassky’s control of sound is breath-taking [Godowsky], and some wonderfully controlled Liszt… This is an excellently produced and fitting centenary tribute to one of the most extraordinary pianists of the twentieth century.” (International Piano: ‘Reissue of the Year, 2010’)

“…this double-disc contains some real treasures, especially some pieces which were rarely played by the pianist…
A delight!” (Diapason Magazine: ‘Diapason D’OR’)

“…it provides so much elusive material on this pianist in better sound than ever before, not to mention being generally well done and well worth its value.” (All Music Guide****)

“Thanks to First Hand Records, we can appreciate less what he might have been than what he was: a major pianist at the height of his powers. This is a lovingly produced and documented release, a fair and honest representation of a perplexing, fascinating figure, and a must for anyone interested in the history of 20th Century piano performance.” (Enjoy the Music)

“This two CD set arrives from a rather unexpected quarter, a new company called First Hand Records. If this is a marker, and if it reflects the general level of comprehensiveness and commitment, then I think we can expect some good things from them because this is a really first class contribution to Cherkassky on disc… Notes are helpful and well written. Really, as I said earlier, this is a most impressive issue with quality transfers to match. High standards are set here.” (Musicweb-International)

“Hats off to First Hand Records here collecting all of Shura Cherkassky’s HMV stereo recordings and for presenting them with excellent annotation and data. Full marks, too, for lan Jones’s re-mastering, which presents the recordings with immediacy, freshness and tonal fidelity… This is a feast for Cherkassky fans and for admirers of distinctive pianism.” (Musical Opinion ****)

“First Hand’s classily presented two-disc set of the complete HMV stereo recordings made in 1956 and 1958 is a treasure trove of Cherkassky rarities… above all – and this applies to both discs – are the sheer beauty of sound, individuality of conception and musical imagination that Cherkassky brings to whatever takes his fancy. Required listening for all students of the piano.” (Gramophone Magazine)

“This is an absorbing set by a master of grace and humor.” (Buffulo News ***)

“…gems for pianophiles, they preserve the great pianist’s idiosyncratic and poetic artistry in all its glory…” (BBC Music Magazine: performance **** / recording ***)

“…First Hand is to be commended for its efforts in making this material readily available… There is no question that all Cherkassky enthusiasts, and connoisseurs of fine pianism, will welcome this release…” (International Record Review)

“This is a very valuable addition to the piano catalogue.” (Classical Source)

“A solid set dedicated to a wonderfully impish and singular keyboard artist.” (Audiophile Audition ****)

“The set is a valuable document of Cherkassky in his heyday…” (La Folia)

(The Irish Times *****)



Additional information

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