Shura Cherkassky Piano Masterpieces
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Ludwig, Leopold; Berliner Philharmoniker; Kraus, Richard; Boult, Adrian; Fistoulari, Anatole; Hubert, Marcel; Menges, Herbert; Karajan, Herbert von; Jackson, Harold; Philharmonia Orchestra; Cherkassky, Shura
Shura Cherkassky, born in 1909 in the Crimean port of Odessa, was noted among 20th century pianists for his wayward temperament. Even in old age, he still showed himself in full possession of seemingly effortless power. His extensive repertoire ranged the styles and the centuries. He loved the concert life, and he was a lifelong traveller. From 1928 to the start of the Second World War he was at home in the musical capitals of countries around the world; after the war was over, he developed a predilection for Europe. He was often dubbed a musician of the piano or of the keys, on account of the sounds he conjured up in his virtuosic and spontaneous playing of Liszt and Chopin or other Romantic composers. “Fidelity to the original” never was his sole preoccupation. In this respect he resembled his teacher, the great Josef C. Hofmann, at whose Curtis Institute in Philadelphia he studied once his family had found a new home in the USA in 1923. Before that he had been taught by his mother, who had studied the piano at the St Petersburg Conservatory and gained her diploma there. At the age of nine, Shura Cherkassky gave his first public concert. His childlike delight in playing certainly stayed with him all his life, audible today in the recordings he has left us.