Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op 37b

Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op 37b

Article excerpt

Tchaikovsky

The Seasons, Op 37b. Grande Sonate, Op 37

Freddy Kempfpf

BIS [F] [SACD] BIS2140 (66' * DDD/DSD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Tchaikovsky's opulent G major Sonata has all too often been seen as inflated and over-long. But in the right hands the Andante's ultra-Russian melancholy, the playfully syncopated Scherzo and the finale's virtuoso chase erase such criticism. But if Freddy Kempfs brio and propulsion make a laudable attempt at lightening the first movement's potentially clangorous and opaque textures, he is too often inclined to push ahead regardless. What I missed, too, was the sort of firm rhythmic grip exemplified in Richter's legendary recording. Kempfs freedom at 0'45" (to take one example) seems to me a decorative view of Tchaikovsky's risoluto demand, and he is oddly perfunctory in both the opening and close of the Andante and dismissive of dotted rhythms that have their origin in Schumann (always the ghost behind much of Tchaikovsky's piano-writing). …

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