Gramophone Magazine

Review of Sgouros' Tchaikovsky CD



Concert Fantasia,Op. 56 - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 1,Op. 23
Dimitris Sgouros pf

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Walter Weller

EMI     CDC7 47718-2 (63 minutes : DDD)

Reviewed: Gramophone (4/1987)


This new Sgouros/Weller account of the Tchaikovsky B flat minor Concerto is very enjoyable and made the more attractive by its splendid coupling. The bold, spacious opening will disappoint no one and has one reflecting about Tchaikovsky's inexaustible melodic resource—only he could afford to use such a tune in the introduction. Sgouros's articulation in the Allegro's main theme is particularly appealing—with pearly timbre in the upper register—never brittle, and his flexibility becomes even more apparent at the appearance of the second subject, where the rubato of orchestra and soloists is sensitively co-ordinated. The big octave display passages are superb and in the first cadenza there is no dallying, as with Pogorelich on DG.
Weller's accompaniment is highly musical, but lacks charisma when the orchestra is put to the text in the 'battle' of the development. The sforzando timpani thwack at bar 390 has little impact and in the sequential climax which follows one needs more of a feeling of the orchestra being carried away with the music's passion. Yet if one accepts this lack of histrionics the first movement, overall is satisfying. The Andantino, as so often, brings out the best in everyone, its contrasts perfectly contained, with Sgouros again articulating delightfully in the middle section, so that the underlying bravura is almost disguised. The finale too has fine flair and sweeps to its close excitingly after a satisfying broad statement of the lyrical tune; again, Sgouro's fingers are breathtakingly nimble and his timbre remains firm and full.
The recording is excellent, vivid and well balanced with a characteristically truthful piano image as we expect from EMI engineering at its best: the acoustics of Walthamstow Town Hall are used to warm the sound without bringing any blurring. The colourful scoring of the Concert Fantasia, with its engaging affinities with the ballet theatre in the first movement, is presented no less successfully and the performance is first class. This work is unaccountably neglected in the concert hall, for as Sgouros and Weller show, it has a wide range. The opening is light-weight and piquantly orchestrated. There is a powerful first movement cadenza as impressive as that in the concerto (and Sgouros makes the very most of it) a tender Andante featuring a duet for piano and cello, which is beautifully done here and a spirited, dance-like finale, with a fine lyrical strain for the orchestra. Here the rhythms are sprightly and the enjoyment of the performers is readily conveyed.
All in all this issue will be well worth considering when it arrives on CD—it is more satisfactory than the Douglas on RCA (which has no coupling) and although not quite a match for the Argerich Dutoit/DG performance it gains points for its inclusion of the Concert Fantasia.



Concert Fantasia,Op. 56 - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 1,Op. 23
Dimitris Sgouros pf

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Walter Weller

EMI     CDC7 47718-2 (63 minutes : DDD)

Reviewed: Gramophone (9/1987)


The realistically full-bodied sound of the CD, with the piano very tangibly out front, increases the attractions of these very enjoyable performances and the bravura of the soloist is given enhanced projection. While the performance of the concerto has not quite the tingling excitement of the Argerich/Dutoit account (ironically, the somewhat thinner orchestral tuttis of this older DG recording have more bite in the treble), with Weller's direction of the first movement much more relaxed than Dutoit's, the inclusion of a near ideal account of the Concert Fantasia is very much a plus point.
The Douglas RCA disc misses out by offering no coupling and Slatkin's orchestral direction has less tension than Weller's.

The New Penguin Guide To Compact Discs and Cassettes

Review of Sgouros' Tchaikovsky Album


 "A big, bold performance of the B flat minor Concerto from Sgouros, the mood set by the spacious opening.  Sgouros's articulation of the main subject of the allegro is particularly appealing and he is highly responsive to the work's balancing poetic elements."

Performance of the Brahms Piano Quintet

".. the Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor was given a poised and coherent reading that showed all parties concerned to be on the same wavelength. Sgouros must be commended for highlighting the inner lines of the score. The concert ended with a brilliant rendition of the Scherzo from Dvorak's Piano Quintet Op 81. The audience applauded warmly."


 In homage of the Franz Liszt Anniversary Year in 2011, EMI/Warner Classics proudly announces a new double-CD set entitled 

 "Essential Liszt" with landmark recordings by Dimitris Sgouros and other featured Liszt exponents of the modern era 



 "Essential Liszt" - the highly-anticipated new Warner/EMI Classics album (worldwide release July 2011) 



Dimitris Sgouros featured in Gramophone Magazine (June 2012)

The Insider's Guide
Gramophone selects June's unmissable musical events
Top picks - Dimitris Sgouros, Pinchas Zukerman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Maria Joao Pires, New York Philharmonic



 The Athens State Orchestra performs works by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Stravinsky with piano soloist Dimitris Sgouros under conductor Vassilis Christopoulos 



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