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Penguin Guide, January 2009

It is Scherbakov’s achievement that he makes Liszt’s piano transcriptions of these Beethoven symphonies sound so pianistic. With wonderfully crisp articulation and fluent passage-work, textures are clarified, and the freshness and energy of the writing are strongly brought out both in the exuberantly youthful No. 2 and the darkly dramatic No. 5. This is as imaginative as Cyprien Katsaris’s Teldec accounts from the days of LP, and no one with a taste for keyboard heroism should overlook them. He is vastly superior to Leslie Howard’s pedestrian set on Hyperion. He is, so to speak, more of a Weingartner than a Toscanini (as was Katsaris) but his Fifth still has that barnstorming quality that arrests your attention. At super-bargain price, well worth investigating even by those who shy away from transcriptions. Excellent, clear piano sound.

Bill Newman
Hi-Fi News & Record Review, June 2000

"Hopefully, this will be the start of a complete cycle. Liszt remained loyal to Beethoven's markings in transcribing his symphonies for solo piano, but the onus is on performers to encompass the changing styles and development to bring vibrancy of spirit, drama and realism to their interpretations...

"After studying the Beethoven and Liszt manuscripts, Scherbakov gave a series of live performances before committing his thoughts to disc. At the start of Symphony 2, Classical restraint suddenly gives way to dazzling turns of phrase; the music takes on a romantic ardour, effervescence hardly dampened by Beethoven's famous 'pregnant pauses'. The Larghetto is finely poised - singing phrases all beautifully weighted, each stand poignant - whilst the scherzo shows the performer's adeptness in sforzandi, ' pizzicati', the shaping and dynamic grading of melodic lines. Flexible wrist control, fingers in close contact with the keys pay dividends during the finale's intricacies.

"Symphony 5's wider canvas of emotions, and new harmonic blendings after the held-breath anticipation at the start, is notable for its compactness, and the way that high tensions are made to counterbalance the proud declamations of the following movement. Scherbakov's control of pulse and filagree ornamentations make this the focal point of the interpretation. Thereafter, his stately rendering of the march that starts the scherzo, both hands declaiming the surging celli/basses in the trio, the descent into the abyss and upsurge of victorious rejoicing leads us to the magnificent close. Andrew Walton and Eleanor Thomason, working at St Martin's Church East Woodhay, Hampshire, supply the finishing sonic touches."

Michael Church
Classic CD, May 2000

"Konstantin Scherbakov is a lifelong Beethovenian, and he brings all the needed qualities. His range of colour is huge, and his broad tempi allow him to suggest the spaciousness which is the essence of the exercise. His account of the Second symphony is riveting, and he makes impressive sense the much more daunting Fifth."

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