Review by Jonalogic October 1, 2010 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
|This is an exceptionally stimulating release, both musically and sonically.
Following on from the transcendent Bach '48'. Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugue scale the heights of Western instrumental music. Shchedrin's later attempt at such a cycle is less well known, however.
On paper, smashing extracts of these two works together just shouldn't work. But it does. The Shostakovich tracks are more classical and lyrical, whilst the Shchedrin is more dissonant and motoric. The dialogue between the two is therefore both pungent and illuminating.
Listening to this disc is rather like wandering an unknown country and finding unexpected landmarks you know and love. That makes for a fascinating journey.
The playing of the young Norwegian pianist, Joachim Kwetzinsky, is just magnificent throughout - idiomatic, passionate, dynamic and lyrical when required. It's also exceptionally transparent - matching well, as we shall see, the sonics on this disc.
I would urge 2L to get him back into the studio as rapidly as possible to complete the full Shostakovich 24, which is criminally lacking on SACD; it would be definitive.
The sound quality of this disc is also exceptional. Every time I hear a DXD-recorded SACD from 2L or Ondine, I wonder why more labels are not using it. Transparent and truthful, without the well-known editing 'issues' of DSD, it is producing some of the most accurate and musical SACDs being produced today.
The piano sound on this disc is crystalline in its clarity and accuracy. My only criticism would be that I would have preferred the microphones pulled back a few feet to manifest more hall sound.
Let me end with a moan, however. The digipak packaging sucks, big-time. The cardboard gets dog-eared instantly, whilst the shiny black gloss finish attracts fingerprints from light years around. And please don't try to get a closer look at the notes- they're cleverly glued in! Tacky.
A disc of this quality simply deserves better.
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