Tchaikovsky Follow Up

By on July 14, 2012

Simon Trpceski

We at the Post have learned that Simon Trpceski, the commanding soloist from The New York Philharmonic’s summer All Tchaikovsky concerts, will be recording the Tchaikovsky Second this September and has just committed the First Concerto which he played earlier in New York to record, hopefully for a Fall release. Both releases should be eagerly anticipated by anyone who loves this composer, and it is hoped the Third Piano Concerto, Concert Fantasia will be added at some future date.

Siloti and Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky’s balletic Third Concerto was completed in one movement in 1895, but at the urging of his brother Modeste, he later began to adapt an Andante and Finale written for an unfinished symphony as the final two movements. It is a story reminiscent of the generation of Robert Schumann’s only piano concerto. Unfortunately Tchaikovsky left  this work uncompleted and the concerto is almost always played as a one-movement work when it is played at all, which is very rarely.

Sergei Taneyev

Sergei Taneyev, a friend of the composer, who played the premier performance of the Third Concerto, completed Tchaikovsky’s sketched additions with the advice of Alexander Siloti, who had talked Tchaikovsky into the shorter performing version of his Second Concerto. Rather than claiming it to be part of Opus 75, the two published the piece as a separate work, Opus 79 post., Andante and Finale for piano and orchestra. Critics have argued its worth, often belittling it. I have had the opportunity of hearing it played as part of the Third Concerto and find it a thoroughly enjoyable whole. It will never replace his First Concerto as a favorite but it does not sound cribbed together either alone or as a whole. Given his popularity, certainly unknown Tchaikovsky is worth periodic airings. Critics have often disparaged the 1812 Overture but this has not impaired its immense popularity.

With a pianist like Trpceski whose technique and temperment are so aptly suited to this composer in the recording studio these days, it would be a great opportunity squandered not to have him record the Concert Fantasia and both Opus 75 and 79 so listeners and admirers of Tchaikovsky can judge for themselves. Avie or EMI, where are you?

Curtis Rittenhouse


About Tom Godfrey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.