Delos Reissues Acclaimed CD of Pianist Constantine Orbelian Playing Piano Concertos by Shostakovich, Mozart, and Bach (DE 1043)
A Brilliant Pianist-turned-Conductor
Some fans of Orbelian’s work as a conductor may still not be aware of his brilliant career as a concert pianist before he assumed the Moscow Chamber Orchestra’s directorship in 1991. Since then – despite his intermittent appearances as a pianist – his immense success as a conductor has overshadowed his reputation as a distinguished keyboard artist. This sterling reissue gives a new generation of listeners a fresh chance to experience and appreciate his rare piano mastery for themselves – as well as to present a more complete picture of his artistic origins and musical versatility.
One of the Major Musicians of Our Time
Orbelian enjoys a glowing (and growing) reputation as one of the most influential and important musicians of our time. As Fanfare critic William Zagorsky put it, “Constantine Orbelian stands astride two great societies, and finds and promotes synergistic harmony from the best of each.” He has spent more than twenty years serving as one of Russian Music’s most ardent and respected cultural ambassadors, largely documented in the thirty-plus recordings he has made for Delos. Ultimate recognition of his accomplishments came in 2012, when he was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship Medal: an honor that had been bestowed upon only one other American musician, the pianist Van Cliburn.
Critical Acclaim for Pianist Orbelian
Maestro Orbelian’s performances as a pianist are preserved in two previous Delos releases. BBC Music Magazine praised Dedicated to Victims of War and Terror (DE 3259), in which Orbelian performs the Schnittke piano concerto, advising that his performance “…hits one right between the eyes…a superb recording, deep and warm and staggeringly true…” The other is Shostakovich – Schnittke: Piano Quintets (DE 1038), which the online vendor ArkivMusic described as “…excellent, emotionally cogent performances.” The present release, offering an exceptionally wide-ranging program of classic concerto performances, is now Orbelian’s third recording as a pianist on Delos.
Engaging and Vibrant Vintage Performances; Outstanding Collaborators
While all of these joyful and beautifully executed performances are with the MCO, they were recorded in the years just before Orbelian took over the orchestra. The three concertos with single piano were performed under the deft baton of previous MCO director Andrei Korsakov, whose untimely death in 1991 left the conductor vacancy that Orbelian filled. Korean Maestro Nanse Gum expertly conducted the Mozart “Double” Concerto No. 10, also featuring noted American pianist Jonathan Shames. Orbelian’s trumpet partner in the Shostakovich is the Russian superstar Sergei Nakariakov, then only around 12 years old! The Shostakovich is a particularly saucy and fun-filled account; the Bach and Mozart works illustrate the early development of the piano concerto.