[25 March 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
For someone who has been a notable figure in the classical music lexicon for so long, Dmitri Shostakovich’s music can sometimes get irregular. He seemed to be caught between two worlds, like Beethoven before him, making grasps for the darker sounds of tomorrow while reserving reverence for mother Russia with echoes of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. Nailing the opposed influences of Shostakovich’s music cannot be an easy thing, but Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov pulls it off without blinking on Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concertos. With the help of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Teodor Currentzis, Melnikov flawlessly tackles the romantically terse “Piano Concerto No. 2”, the noticeably atonal “Sonata for Violin and Piano Op. 134 in F Major”, and the swirlingly mad “Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra Op. 35 in C Minor”. Jeroen Bertwaerts and Isabelle Faust perform on trumpet and violin, respectively. Another fine, almost perfect, release from Harmonia Mundi.