Shura Cherkassky: Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn
West German Radio’s reputation as one of the leading public media organizations with an active interest in classical music dates back at least to the early post-war period, when there was a constant stream of prominent instrumentalists and conductors keen to record in the old Broadcasting House in Cologne. Orfeo is pleased to launch its new series of historic recordings drawn from the archives of West German Radio with a compilation of recordings that Shura Cherkassky made in Cologne in 1951 and 1953. With virtuoso warhorses such as Liszt’s Réminiscences de Don Juan and Brahms’s Paganini Variations, Cherkassky, who was born in Odessa in the Ukraine but who later took American citizenship, confirms his reputation as an impulsive daredevil whose brilliance by no means excluded a wide range of half-colours. Also included in this new CD are scherzos by Mendelssohn and Chopin that further reveal his roguish and impish humour. Listeners who until now have thought of Cherkassky only as a circus performer fond of the wildest excesses will be surprised by the seriousness and directness of these recordings and be forced to revise their opinion of him.