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 Post subject: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:27 am 
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COLONEL
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Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito
II. Andantino semplice – Prestissimo
III. Allegro con fuoco

Although Tchaikovsky was already an accomplished composer (having already produced his first two symphonies, a string quartet, and two notable tone poems, all of these successful and enduring works), he still sought the approval of mentors such as Balakirev and Nicolas Rubinstein. On Christmas Eve 1874 he played the concerto for Rubinstein (its intended soloist) in an empty classroom. Rubinstein responded with a torrent of castigation, made famous by Tchaikovsky's own recollection. Tchaikovsky slunk off in despair. Later Rubinstein called him back and detailed a list of changes that must be made by a certain date if Rubinstein were to perform it. Tchaikovsky wrote that he responded, "I shall not change a single note, and I shall publish the concerto as it is now." He continued in his reminiscence, "And this, indeed, I did." Well, not entirely. Although there are no really substantial changes, he did subject the concerto to some minor revision before it was printed, as happens with most compositions. The premiere fell to Hans von Bülow, who played it first in Boston, October 15, 1875. The audience was enraptured and demanded a repeat of the entire final movement. Von Bülow took the concerto back to Europe, where it was quickly added to the repertoire of other leading pianists; even Rubinstein started playing it in 1878. It has been a giant success, virtually the epitome of the romantic piano concerto, ever since.

by Joseph Stevenson

http://www.allmusic.com/composition/piano-concerto-no-1-in-b-flat-minor-op-23-mc0002403389

Note that the version most often performed is the final 1888 revision rather than the original 1874 version.

See:

http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net/en/Works/Concertos/TH055/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_No._1_%28Tchaikovsky%29

The Music

Youtube (Live Recordings)

Moskow Radio Symphony Orchestra/Conductor:Vladimir Fedoseyev/Piano:Mikhail Pletnev (1991)




Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Conductor:Hannu Lintu/Piano:Yuja Wang (2012)





Compact Disks (First movement consists of the first 10 minutes)

Image

Cover disk to The Great Composers Issue: 4 (1981/1990)
Performance by the Prague Symphony Orchestra with an unspecified Conductor and Piano Soloist.
II.


Image

Cover disk to The Classical Collection Issue: 1 (1992)
Performance by the London Festival Orchestra/Conductor: Laurence Siegel/Piano: Ida Czernecka
I.


Image

Tchakovsky: Piano Concerto Nº.1/Marche Slave, Naxos CD 8.550031 (1987, No longer in catalog)
Performance by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Conductor: Bystrík Režucha/Piano: Peter Toperczer
III.


Image

Tchaikovsky/Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos, Naxos CD 8.553269 (1988, recording also available on Naxos CD 8.550137.)
Performance by the CSR Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)/Conductor: Ondrej Lenárd/Piano: Joseph Banowetz
Naxos 8.550137, Amazon.co.uk / Naxos 8.553269, Amazon.co.uk
I.


Image

Scriabin & Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos, Helios CDH55304 (1993)
Performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra/Conductor:Alexander Lazarev/Piano:Nikolai Demidenko
Amazon.co.uk
II.

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:52 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Bravo for reaching your 1,000th post Colonel Graham. This concerto is another glaring CMM omission from the popular repertoire that I guess needed filling. Lots more to add to the listening list!

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:40 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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PS why so many extracts from the first movement? Surely some could have been sacrificed in favour of the other two movements?

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:51 pm 
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Rod Corkin wrote:
PS why so many extracts from the first movement? Surely some could have been sacrificed in favour of the other two movements?


I thought it would make it easier to compare the peformances. Also the timings are quite different for the complete first movements ranging from 18:47 ('Prague Symphony'/?) to 21:42 (BBC Symphony/Demidenko) and I was unsure about posting so much of the composition. I have copied third movements from all of these though.

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:07 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Note the Colonel has now provided a more varied selection above! (some comments from me will arrive by the weekend).

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:15 am 
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I thought I'd just throw in a brief comment before, anyone else does. Of these recordings my sentimental favourite is one on the Classical Collection Issue: 1 CD. That series of magazines was my introduction to Classical Music, I had the tape versions and wore quite a few of them out.

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"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." - attr R. Strauss


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:52 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Been watching the Pletnev video, though what I am writing in this initial post is about the music itself. The opening five minutes of the first movement is Romantic glitz in its most extreme incarnation. I cannot imagine a more Liberacian concoction. Though the principle theme is of course today a Tchaikovsky 'hit', it is apparently derived from a folk melody. However, I have to say I find the 'hit' is at the same time, combined with T's piano chord pounding accompaniment, wholly preposterous. Then what follows for most the remainder is in total contrast, surprisingly subtle and refined. So a strange combination, the opening material having little or no connection with what follows. Ironically I suggest the material the concerto is famous for might have better been struck out and handed back to the Ukranian "blind beggar-musicians" from whence it came?

Also sprach der mächtige Donnerer.

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:53 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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I was waiting for a rebuttal from Graham before proceeding further with this thread. Given that so far none has arrived, people who know me know I take a response of silence as a sign of begrudging acknowledgement of the wisdom of those who dwell upon Olympus!

^O^

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:39 pm 
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2nd LIEUTENANT
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It's a strangely unbalanced work, with the giant introduction making the work a touch front heavy.
I have Lazar Berman the HvK and the BPO as my "first string" recording. As a teenager I nearly wore out my father's recording of it.
I am enjoying the Slovak finale with Toperczer;s playing. He sounds reasonably accomplished. Recording is may be slighly drum heavy.
Best wishes,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Yuja Wang and the Finns sound pretty good as well.
Once we get into the first movement proper, we get the lovely light touch orchestration Tchaikovsky could do so well.

Best wishes,

Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:22 am 
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I may be a bit of a chauvanist but a discussion of this work cannot omit the Van Cliburn performance from 1958, perhaps the best classical seller of all time in the U.S.A. It was his performance that spurred my interest in clasical music at age twelve and led to my taking clarinet lessons for several years:


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:37 am 
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Rod Corkin wrote:
Been watching the Pletnev video, though what I am writing in this initial post is about the music itself. The opening five minutes of the first movement is Romantic glitz in its most extreme incarnation. I cannot imagine a more Liberacian concoction. Though the principle theme is of course today a Tchaikovsky 'hit', it is apparently derived from a folk melody. However, I have to say I find the 'hit' is at the same time, combined with T's piano chord pounding accompaniment, wholly preposterous. Then what follows for most the remainder is in total contrast, surprisingly subtle and refined. So a strange combination, the opening material having little or no connection with what follows.


I prefer to view the opening of the concerto in the same light as an overture to an opera, the buoyant curtain raiser for what is to follow. If nothing else, it certainly gets the audiences attention.

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"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." - attr R. Strauss


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:02 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Graham1973 wrote:
I prefer to view the opening of the concerto in the same light as an overture to an opera, the buoyant curtain raiser for what is to follow. If nothing else, it certainly gets the audiences attention.

Well there is an apparent link with the opening material and the subsequent music. From the Wiki page (which is an interesting read)...


For a long time, the introduction posed an enigma to analysts and critics alike.…The key to the link between the introduction and what follows is…Tchaikovsky’s gift of hiding motivic connections behind what appears to be a flash of melodic inspiration. The opening melody comprises the most important motivic core elements for the entire work, something that is not immediately obvious, owing to its lyric quality. However, a closer analysis shows that the themes of the three movements are subtly linked. Tchaikovsky presents his structural material in a spontaneous, lyrical manner, yet with a high degree of planning and calculation.


However there is such a thing as playing too hard and clever with the minutiae whilst being blind to the big and obvious, the result is that whatever the 'motivic connections' the opening still appears completely detached from the rest of the movement, something your assessment above does not contradict. You're right it is certainly an attention grabber and undoubtedly the source of the music's sustained popularity in the modern era, but it is interesting how quickly he dumps that material (above Wiki quote not withstanding). I'd like to hear the beggar's version from which it is derived, but I suspect that might be lost in the midsts of time.

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:13 am 
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The Tchaikovsky Research website has put out a call for their readers to help resolve if the 1888 revision actually what the composer intended.

The article has a few samples of earlier versions of the concerto, including the original version of the finale.

http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net/en/news/news0005.html

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"A tune a day keeps the sergeant away" - Alan Rawsthorne

"Superior music, not a tune to be whistled” - H. Villa-Lobos

"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." - attr R. Strauss


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:31 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Graham1973 wrote:
The Tchaikovsky Research website has put out a call for their readers to help resolve if the 1888 revision actually what the composer intended.

The article has a few samples of earlier versions of the concerto, including the original version of the finale.

http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net/en/news/news0005.html

An unusual request, however your enthusiasm for this piece leads me to be certain you have both the Jurgenson and Rahter editions lying casually on your coffee table.

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