Class. Music CD Tchaikovsky Pathetique Symph

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 ("Pathetique"), transcribed for solo pianoChitose Okashiro, PianistPro Piano PPR 224530Another rarity of "world premier" recording caliber from pianist Chitose Okashiro.  She seems ALWAYS to come up with magnificent outpourings of expressive genius.  Not another young pianist plying the trade has consistently shown such courageous aptitude in combining standard "masterpiece compositions" with transcription excellence.  This CD is a "one of a kind, must have" release from "The Professionals of Piano Sound," Pro Piano Records.Here is a review from The New York Times On The Web:Have you ever experienced running into someone you know -- a friend, a colleague, even a family member -- and finding they look unfamiliar somehow? Perhaps they've changed their hair color, grown or shaved off a beard, lost some weight, and suddenly you barely recognize them. Outer appearances make for powerful associations, even in music. Sometimes a new arrangement, a transcription, even a simple alteration, can reveal something new or unexpected. Here are six disks of very familiar works cloaked in new clothes. Before the existence of phonographs and radios, piano transcriptions of orchestral works provided a way for the public to become acquainted with symphonies. Many composers took up the cause (Liszt's arrangements of Beethoven's nine crop up on recital programs from time to time). Even after the stereo replaced the piano as the musical instrument of choice in most homes, composers and performers, perhaps challenged by the difficulties inherent in making and playing transcriptions, continued the practice. One such arrangement, of Tchaikovsky's popular "Pathetique" Symphony, was made in the 1920's by Walter Niemann. Few symphonies are intrinsically suited for keyboard reduction -- after all, it is the myriad colors and timbres of the orchestra that give them their character -- and Tchaikovsky's Sixth seems one of the least likely to succeed. To wit, how can a piano emulate this symphony's extraordinary opening, the gloomy wail of a solo bassoon rising over a cluster of double basses? Yet, as Chitose Okashiro aptly proves, in the right hands, Mr. Niemann's arrangement is as thrilling as the original. Miss Okashiro must be enthralled with transcription as a form, having already recorded various composers' piano arrangements of excerpts from three Wagner operas in "Richard Wagner Piano Transcriptions." As on that disk, her playing here is astonishing. With such a variety of texture and color, and so many notes flying by, it's hard to believe that she doesn't have an extra hand or two. The opening movement's well-known, tender second theme sings as soulfully as a full contingent of strings. The frenetic development section, with its tremolos and thundering octaves, is surprisingly pianistic, sounding right out of Liszt's "Dante" Sonata. The scherzo-like third movement is a tour de force, its cascading double notes whirling by with incredible precision. Undoubtedly you don't need this CD to become familiar with Tchaikovsky's last symphony, but if you want to be wowed by some staggering piano playing, have a listen.


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