, March 2002
"...of major interest to pianophiles. Highly respected Solomon Cutner (who used only his first name professionally) played the second movement of the Tchaikovsky at his debut in 1910 when he was only eight years old. After years of touring as a prodigy, he gave up the piano for two years after which he resumed studies and, at the age of 22, restarted his career, now a mature artist. This CD contains all of his issued Columbia recordings made from 1930 - 1934; in 1941 he began recording for HMV until he had a stroke in 1956 when at the peak of his career; he died in 1988. This performance of the Tchaikovsky was recorded in November 1929, with a remake of the last three sides the following February. It is a magisterial performance of the greatest power with a distinctive approach to the Prestissimo section of the second movement. The "waltz" section is played slightly slower than usual, said to be a tradition handed down to Mark Hambourg from his teacher Leschitizky. Notice, too, the fine accompaniment for the Tchaikovsky, with Hamilton Harty (not identified as "Sir," although he could have been as he was knighted in 1925), giving Solomon perfect support with a touch of portamento here and there. Solomon was a superb technician - just listen to his rousing Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 or the F Minor Etude. A musician of wide interests, Solomon reveled in the new, premiering the piano concerto composed for him in 1939 by Sir Arthur Bliss, and in May 1949 recording the Scriabin Piano Concerto with support from the Maharaja of Mysore. Solomon and conductor Issay Dobrowen weren't quite satisfied with the result in the latter - the recording wasn't issued until 1991 on a long-discontinued EMI CD (CDH 63821, which also contained the 1943 recording of the Bliss concerto). Another lamented CD among the missing is EMI Classics Artist Profile Solomon set (67735) which contained Beethoven's concertos 1 and 3 as well as the Grieg and Schumann. Considering the age of recordings on the Naxos disk one can only have highest praise for Mark Obert-Thorn's transfers, overcoming manifold flaws of the original disks with greatest success."