Shura Cherkassky - The Nimbus Recordings

Colourful in the extreme, truly dramatic rather than melodramatic, inventive and not merely correct. Isolated by a divide of years and social climate, Cherkassky, and a few artists like him, are more important to us now than we can ever imagine. They alone hold a key for us to a path back to more vital and enriching music making. Marrying composers such as Bach, Busoni, Berg, Liszt and Beethoven in this diverse range of recital programmes is a pleasure and stimulant that only twentieth century man could enjoy, drawing on the past three hundred years of interlocked musical progression from Bach to Berg. On a musical level it broadens our horizons by putting into sharp and illuminating relief the different conceits and qualities of each composer. There is also the excitement of hearing how a great performer adapts his voice and manner to the totally different demands made upon him. Cherkassky’s recorded performances are not intended to be definitive either of the music or of Cherkassky’s approach to it. Any two Cherkassky performances of a work might be totally different, and here lies the secret of a great performer, each will equally suspend our critical faculty and for that moment in time convince us of its rightness. It takes consummate skill and understanding to embrace such a huge variety of composers and to make each speak to us as directly as they do here.




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Catalogue Number

Disc One Total playing time 76.08

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonata in E flat, Op. 27, No. 1 ‘quasi una Fantasia’ 17.27

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Etudes Symphoniques, Op. 13 26.35

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897) Variations on a theme of Paganini, Op. 35 Book l 14.02 Book 2 11.41

JOSEF HOFMANN (1876-1957) Kaleidoscope, Op. 40 4.46

ABRAM CHASINS (1903-1981) Rush Hour in Hong Kong from Three Chinese Pieces 1.37 


Disc Two Total playing time 78.29

J S BACH (1685-1750) (arr. by Ferruccio Busoni) Chaconne from Partita in D minor for violin 16.28

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptu No.2 in E flat, Op.90 4.23 Impromptu No.3 in G flat, Op.90 5.05

ROBERT SCHUMANN Kreisleriana, Op.16 33.05

ALBAN BERG (1885-1935) Sonata, Op. 1 9.52

JOHANN STRAUSS (1825-1899)/ LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938) Wine, Women and Song 9.36 


Disc Three Total playing time 74.38


Scherzo in B minor, Op.20 9.48

Andante Spianato & Grand Polonaise in E flat, Op. 22 15.19

Nocturne in D flat, Op. 27, No. 2 6.28

Mazurka in B minor, Op. 33, No. 4 4.11

Sonata in B minor, Op. 58 26.08

Nocturne in E, Op. 62, No. 2 5.51

Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 63, No. 3 2.04

Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 4.49


Disc Four Total playing time 75.30


Variations on ‘Là, ci darem la mano,’ Op. 2 17.48

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata in B minor 28.29

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 9.39

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka 19.35 


Disc Five Total playing time 75.20

CESAR FRANCK (1822-1890) Prélude, choral et fugue 17.58

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886) Funérailles Harmonies Poétiques et Religeuses No. 7 12.59

EDVARD GREIG (1843-1907) Sonata in E minor, Op. 7 19.00

SERGEY RAKHMANINOV (1873-1943) Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42 17.50

OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quatre Études de rythme - Ile de feu I and II 7.32


Disc Six Total playing time 76.56

FRANZ SCHUBERT Sonata in A major, Op. 120 21.11

MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition 33.52

PAUL PABST (1834-1897) Concert Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Op.81 12.57

LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Touches 8.59


"He might be termed the last of the great individualists among the pianist fraternity, an artist whose credo stems from his teacher, the great virtuoso Josef Hofmann. It is a school of personal quirk and technical brilliance that has seemed out of kilter with our era of po-faced accent on authenticity and perfect manners, all tending towards uniformity of execution... Nimbus is to be congratulated for taking charge of Cherkassky during the 1980s and offering him the company's Welsh headquarters to record in at will on his own time scale. As a result of long takes and pleasant surroundings in which Cherkassky thrives, this collection is truly representative of a player who hasn't always had his due." The Daily Telegraph

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