JOSHUA PIERCE

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RUSSIAN PIANO CONCERTOS

RUSSIAN PIANO CONCERTOS


Aram Khachaturian, Sergei Prokofiev, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Dmitri Shostakovich, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

JOSHUA PIERCE, piano
RTV SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF SLOVENIA
SLOVAK NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
BERLIN RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


 

Special 2-CD set

[MS1464]

$19.99

LISTEN
REVIEWS
“Most of these performances were made from 1988 to 1991... MSR's remastering is excellent, offering much better sound now... Pierce plays with a lot of muscle and power... his interpretations more often than not strike you as imaginative and bold, often with insights that others lack... [Pierce's Tchaikovsky First is] definitely a strong effort, well phrased and interpretively sensitive to Tchaikovsky's tuneful and brilliant score, [In the finale] the drama and sweep of the music emerge with plenty of spirit... this is a fine Tchaikovsky First... [Pierce's account of the Third is] an interpretation brimming with spirit and color... The Rimsky-Korsakov C-sharp minor Concerto is a most valuable item here... Pierce seems fully at home with Rimsky's sometimes odd keyboard writing and ends up making an excellent case for this concerto. I actually favor his slightly faster tempos over Sviatoslav Richter's generally more moderate ones. This is not a major work, but those who like piano concertos in a rich Romantic vein will find it strongly to their liking. The Slovak National SO plays well under the direction of Kirk Trevor. he sound reproduction is quite fine throughout the disc. Excellent album notes by the venerable composer/writer Eric Salzman round out this worthwhile compilation of Russian concertos by MSR.”
Robert Cummings, Classical Net [September 2016]
“Tchaikovsky’s First is scintillating and mentally alert; the Third is warm and vigorous... The Khachaturian is colorful. The first movement of Shostakovich’s Second is energetic, and II is beautifully paced.”
Estep, American Record Guide [July/August, 2016]
“music lovers in general can get a hefty and very welcome dose of Russian music for piano and orchestra on a newly and nicely remastered MSR Classics two-CD set of six concertos played, with considerable élan and technique to spare, by Joshua Pierce... Pierce probes the lyricism as well as the dynamism of both [Tchaikovsky] works, and conductor Paul Freeman makes a first-rate partner...pulling out all the stops for a fiery finale… Kirk Trevor, who conducts only [the Rimsky-Koorsakov Concerto] ably abets Pierce’s bright and forthright approach. The set’s second CD focuses on the 20th century rather than the 19th, and is every bit as winning... This is a vivid reading [of the Khachaturian] that, to its credit, pays particularly close attention to Khachaturian’s exotic themes and strong rhythms… The enthusiastic outer movements [of the Shostakovich], whose difficult passages appear to give Pierce no trouble at all... This thoroughly engaging recording makes both a fine tribute to Pierce’s pianism and a memorable memorial to Freeman (1936-2015), who shows himself in these concertos to be a full and able partner for Pierce – two Americans whose sensitivity to and understanding of this Russian repertoire is as convincing as it is involving.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [May 2016]
"Joshua Pierce offers here a useful collection of piano concertos by Russian composers in commendable performances... [the Tchaikovsky] is a well-integrated, well-proportioned, and exciting reading that I find very satisfying... [In the Third Piano Concerto] Pierce’s brilliant, energetic playing gives consistent pleasure. Under Freeman’s direction, the Slovenian orchestra plays very well, with more spirit and incisiveness than the Philharmonia Orchestra under either Maazel or Pletnev’s conductor, Vladimir Fedoseyev. In the Pierce/Freeman rendition, this much-maligned concerto emerges as an exuberant, joyous work with pleasing thematic material, and one senses that these performers truly believe in the piece... I find Pierce’s conception of the [Khachaturian] persuasive and well executed... Piano tone is solid and well defined... The MSR booklet is to be praised for listing all of the numerous tempo markings in each movement of each work, rather than just the initial one, in a rare degree of exactitude... This release is recommended for the fine performances of the repertoire involved and as a document of Joshua Pierce’s impressive artistry.”
Daniel Morrison, Fanfare [May/June 2016]
“What a find this is! Joshua Pierce recorded five of the six Russian piano concertos in this 2-CD set in Eastern Europe between 1988 and 1991... Their reissue in superb remasterings on MSR gives them a fair chance to be heard by a wider audience. This is a treasure trove of the best of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Khachaturian. From the opening of the ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor by Tchaikovsky, we feel we are in for an exalted musical experience as both Pierce and conductor Paul Freeman are right on the money with its smartly-paced excitement... Pierce’s solid pianism includes a beautiful tone that stays amazingly limpid throughout the work’s wide dynamic range. This performance unflaggingly holds our interest... We’ve noted Joshua Pierce’s dynamic artistry in numerous places in the course of this review. His high-profile intensity in the fast, trenchant, and stunningly rhythmical passages speaks for itself, and he is just as keenly attuned to the warm, deeply felt moments in the slow movements of all these works.”
Phil Muse, Audiophile Audition [January 2016]
PROGRAM NOTES
Joshua Pierce is one of the most uniquely gifted virtuosos of our time. His on- going series of recordings on MSR Classics of works from the great composers of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to the romantic world of Brahms, Liszt and Tchaikovsky, form a testimony to the range of an artist who is also known for his performances of 20th century repertoire - from Gershwin to Cage and beyond. Such a range - encompassing the standard repertoire, contemporary works and rediscovered masterpieces of the past - is rare among pianists.

Born in New York City, Pierce studied at the Cleveland Institute, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University. His teachers and mentors included Dorothy Taubman, Artur Balsam, Victor Babin, and Robert Goldsand. He also studied with cellists Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio and Jascha Silberstein, and with pianists Arthur Loesser and Artur Balsam. He has numerous Grammy Award nominations to his credit along with laudatory reviews from publications across the globe. His career includes numerous appearances with major orchestras, including the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Moscow State Philharmonic, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, Luxembourg Philharmonic, RAI Orchestra of Rome, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica Nacional of Peru, and the symphony orchestras of Utah, San Antonio and Missouri. He has collaborated with numerous musicians and chamber ensembles, including violinists Eric Friedman and Julianne Klopotic, cellist Jeffrey Solow and Lawrence Zoernig, Leontovich String Quartet and Chamber Players International.

A prolific recording artist, Pierce can be heard in nearly 200 works on more than 65 CDs, including Beethoven and Brahms piano concertos, the complete piano with orchestra works of Gershwin and Liszt, and landmark recordings of keyboard music by John Cage. His recordings also include standard and lesser-known works by nearly two dozen other composers, from Bach to Britten. Pierce has recorded for a host of record labels, including MSR Classics, Wergo, Sony Classical, Virgin Classics, Carlton Classics, Koch International, Mastersound, Albany, MMC, Centaur and Varese Sarabande. He has also performed for public radio and television around the world, including in the United States, Europe, Russia and South Korea. A highly respected contemporary music performer, Pierce has performed at most of the major concert venues and series in New York City, including: Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, Roulette, The Kitchen, The Knitting Factory, The DiMenna Center and Weill Recital Hall.
 [ www.piercepiano.com ]
PROGRAM
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
PIANO CONCERTO NO.1 IN B-FLAT MINOR, OP.23 (1875)
Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito
Andantino semplice – Allegro vivace assai
Allegro con fuoco

PIANO CONCERTO NO.3 IN E FLAT MAJOR, OP.75 (1893)

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
PIANO CONCERTO IN C-SHARP MINOR, OP.30 (1883)
Moderato – Allegretto quasi polacca
Andante mosso
Allegro

ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
PIANO CONCERTO IN D-FLAT MAJOR (1936)
Allegro ma non troppo e maestoso
Andante con anima
Allegro brillante

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
PIANO CONCERTO NO.2 IN F MAJOR, OP.102 (1957)
Allegro
Andante
Attaca: Allegro

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
PIANO CONCERTO NO.1 IN D-FLAT MAJOR, OP.10 (1912)
Allegro brioso –
Meno mosso
Andante assai
Allegro scherzando
(1840-1893)

 



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