SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 1 in F, Op. 10. Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54.
Russian National Orch/Vladimir Jurowski, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 068 TT: 66:57

RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G. PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 5 in G, Op. 55. SCHLIMÉ: Three Improvisations.
Francesco Tristano Schlimé, pianist; Russian National Orch/Mikhail Pletnev, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 080 TT: 65:16

JOHANN STRAUS: Emperor Waltz, Op. 437. Tales from the Vienna Woods, Op. 325. Artist's Life, Op. 316. Northsea Pictures, Op. 390. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314. Roses from the South, Op. 388.
Vienna Symphony Orch/Yakov Kreizberg, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 052 TT: 63:24

Pentatone appears to be recording a Shostakovich symphony cycle with the fine Russian National Orchestra, Already issued is Symphony No. 11 conducted by Mikhail Pletnev (REVIEW) a live performance recorded in Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels February 14, 2005. These performances of the first and sixth symphonies were recorded October 2004 at the DZZ Studio in Moscow with Job Maarse as producer. Jurowski's vivid performances have been well captured by the engineering staff—there is richness as well as impact. Recommended!

Luxembourg-born twenty-five year old pianist Francesco Tristano Schlimé has won a number of prizes including the Grand Prize of the 2004 Orléans International Piano Competition of 20th Century Music. A graduate of Juilliard, his teachers include Mikhail Pletnev who conducts this recording. Schlimé has a wide range of interpretive interests: he recorded all of Bach's keyboard concertos and Goldberg Variations as well as complete piano music of Luciano Berio. On this new disc we have glittering performances of Ravel's Concerto in G, and the most challenging (for listeners) of Prokofiev's piano concertos, No. 5. The CD also contains the pianist's improvisations (Reveal, Progression and Return) "naturally based on the concertos by Ravel and Prokofiev"—although I doubt many listeners will be aware of the association. Schlimé's interest in jazz is apparent throughout. Recorded in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in April 2005, again with Job Maarse as producer, the sound picture places performers in front with limited hall sound from rear speakers.

Yakov Kreizberg's collection of Johann Strauss waltzes was recorded in Vienna's Konzerthaus in June 2004 by the producer/engineer team of Job Maarse, Erdo Groot and Roger de Schot. They have beautifully captured luxurious orchestral sound with resonance, an admirable sense of space and have resisted the impulse of making delicate sounds of the zither in Vienna Woods overly prominent. For some, Kreizberg's readings might seem overly fussy, but these are beautifully played. It's unfortunate Pentatone didn't include several of the composer's polkas or marches which would have been a welcome respite from the three-quarters mood and easily would have fit onto the disk.

R.E.B. (May 2006)