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Konstantin Scherbakov: Eroica

C. Michael Bailey By

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Why Konstantin Scherbakov? Why Beethoven? Why ask Why? In the Book of Exodus, when Moses asked God what to call Him, God said, "I AM WHO I AM." Same thing with Scherbakov and Beethoven. Scherbakov is a Beethoven monster who recorded the Liszt transcriptions of the Beethoven Symphonies in the late-1990s, early-2000s to considerable acclaim. Scherbakov follows in the Russian tradition of authoritative Beethoven and Liszt interpreters that include Vladimir Horowitz, Nikolai Demidenko, Emil Gilels, and Sviatoslav Richter.

Scherbakov treats us to an imaginative Beethoven recital that includes the "Eroica Variations" (Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E-Flat Major, Op. 35). Scherbakov plays the piece brightly and with delicacy in spite of his powerful left hand. As expected, his articulation is precise and reflective of the entire tradition of Russian-performed Beethoven. His command is impressive and complete. Scherbakov files off the rough edges, leaving a diamond gleam.

Scherbakov also programmed two of Beethoven's name piano sonatas and neither are called "Moonlight." The Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op.13 "Pathetique" allows the pianist to display is soft touch on the well-known Adagio cantabile, his left hand gently nudging his right through the mournful passage. The Sonata No. 23 in F minor (Appassionata) is played much in the same solemn spirit that gives way to both Beethoven's technique and creativity. He captures Beethoven's underlying low hum of anxious creation, acknowledging it and moving on.

Track Listing: Beethoven: Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E-Flat major, Op. 35 “Eroica”; Piano sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 “Pathetique;” Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata.”

Personnel: Konstantin Scherbakov: piano.

Title: Eroica | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Two Pianists Records

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