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From Baritones to the 'Brazilian Bach'

Rumbling opera singers, a hotshot teen violinist and some radiant rarities are among the highlights.


SHURA CHERKASSKY: "The 1982 San Francisco Recital"

Shura Cherkassky, piano.

Music: Lully, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Josef Hofmann

Ivory Classics

*** 1/2

Still at the top of his game, Cherkassky was 71 when he played this provocative program--provocative because the items by Lully and Hofmann are novelties, as is the revived Tchaikovsky Second Sonata, and because the entirety demands unflagging virtuosity as well as a versatile musical mind. The late Cherkassky had it all, of course, and the playing here lives up to the reputation of this quirky and legendary pianist.

His technique is unassailable, his taste exquisite. He makes the longueurs of the Tchaikovsky work seem tolerable and delivers those enchanting melodies with inspiration. He uses his arsenal of touches seductively and imbues a Chopin waltz and the Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat with irresistible authority, gentleness and virility. He was great, and he was unique.


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