Two major "war horses" here from a pianist of the uutmost musicality. We met Belgian-American pianist Tedd Joselson before on the Fantasy of Companionship disc; here, in core repertorie, we get a sense of his greatness. From the first moment I heard Joselson play the piano (a Queen Elizabeth Hall recital in the 1980s, which thankfully was caught for posterity and released by Olympia: link below), I know this was a musican of the utmost integrity and the highest level of musicality.
Joselson's story is notable: he was only 17 when he auditioned for the Philadelphia Orchestras music director Eugene Ormandy, in 1973. Ormandy gave him the choice of any repertoire to record; Jopselson was offered a recording contract while he was still a student at the Juilliard School. The recordings he made have been released by Sony Classical over six discs (link below) which includes the Liszt B minor Sonata, Chopn Second and Third Sonatas and the Ravel G major Concerto, plus his recording of the Tchaikovsky First Concerto from 1974 with Ormandy and the Philadelphia, plus the Sonatas Nos. 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Here's the album preview for the disc under consideration today:
Here, we start with the Grieg Concerto. Joselson is joined by the Royal Philharmonic and Fagan for this concerto, and Fagan finds the greatest delicacy for the opening of the slow movement. The entire movement is a revelation. Not since Radu Lupu with the LSO and Previn has there been such a distinguished version of this concerto.
Arthur Fagain's conducting is marvellous throughout, but just listen to the gpossamer textures he extracts from his orchestra at the start of the Grieg slow movement. And then there's the power Joselson finds in the finale, contrasted with the most delicious dance. One wonders whether an album - or at least a bouquet - of Grieg Lyric Pieces could be possible from Joselson one day?. The first movement contains whole worlds, not least in the magnificent cadenza:
The achievement of the performance of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto is to allow this piece to speak its own truth. It emerges as fresh as a daisy, from the heart, entirely unhackneyed, no sense of film music associations to it whatsoever. Full of delicious, insightful rouches. the sense of flow in the first movement is remarkable - it has an internal momentum that propels it towards climaxes, and yet Joselson finds just he right give and take for the lyricism:
Again, the slow movement is a gem. Here it is with the Philharmonia Orchestra on top form, and how on the ball is the finale, both orchestrally and pianistically. Joselson finds infinite lyricism here, even amongst Rachmaninov's most virtuoso demands:
Lastly, here's a snippet of the finale at the actual recording sessions for the finale:
A timely reminder of the stature of Tedd Joselson's pianism, of his unfailing musaclity; and of the evergreen freshness of these scores!
At £7.99 on Amazon right now, this has to be a major bargain! As is incidentally the box directly linked underneath: six compact discs for £14.99 - and I have also linked to the Olympia compact disc of the recital at which I first encountered the magic of Tedd Joselson.