It is difficult to overstate the breadth of contribution of Anton Rubinstein to the development of the Russian culture in the 19th century. His multifaceted genius can be divided into three areas- Rubinstein the composer, the pianist, and the educator. In this second release in the series of recordings of his works for piano and orchestra, we focus on Rubinstein’s role as a composer. Hailed by The New York Times as a pianist of a fiery sensibility and warm touch, Anna Shelest is an international award-winning pianist who has thrilled audiences throughout the world. Champion of esoteric repertoire, Anna is collaborating with legendary conductor Neeme Jarvi on this project, which will eventually record the complete works for piano and orchestra by Anton Rubinstein. The first album in the set was released in 2018 to critical acclaim.
“The outer movements of these two concertos are a romp for the pianist, and Shelest takes full advantage of the powerful keyboard writing, giving pleasure at the level of virtuosity. The middle movement of Concerto No. 5, marked simply Moderato, is Chopinesque in its wistfulness and delicate tracery. The finale of No. 5 maintains a racing gallop, usually in the left hand, while the right hand gives us spectacular acrobatics….Neeme Järvi stands out from other major conductors in his willingness to undertake obscure scores. He leads a vigorous accompaniment and gets playing from the Estonian National Symphony that reflects Rubinstein’s “force of nature” approach, which naturally extended from his personality to his exploits as a composer-pianist….All told, this CD may be a side track from the familiar concerto canon, but it proves to be a rewarding and enjoyable journey.”
—Huntley Dent, Fanfare Magazine, Sept/Oct 2019