Described by The Independent as “a poised and dignified performer [with a] dazzling range of colour and technical finesse”, Konstantin Scherbakov is a veteran of some forty CD recordings. His output runs the gamut from Scarlatti to Shostakovich, Johann Strauss to Lyapunov, and Respighi to Medtner. Although he is renowned as a champion of lesser-known composers and works, the forthcoming CD release with South African independent label TwoPianists Records, entitled Eroica, represents pianist’s return to the bedrock of the piano literature: the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. The monumental piano works of Beethoven present not only a supreme technical challenge to the virtuoso pianist, but also provide a platform for interpretative inventiveness and artistry of the highest calibre. Eroica will feature master pianist Scherbakov’s interpretation of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Variations together with the famous Sonatas ‘Pathétique’ and ‘Appassionata’.
Scherbakov—described by Classic CD as a “lifelong Beethovenian”—has had a career-defining relationship with Beethoven’s music. With this latest CD offering, the pianist returns to the composer who helped initiate his early career, and who has been a constant musical companion for the past four decades.
His very first public performance was of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, undertaken as an 11-year old child prodigy with the symphony orchestra of his native town of Barnaul in Siberia. After triumphal victory at the inaugural Rachmaninoff Competition in Moscow in 1983, the door was open for Scherbakov to embark on his remarkable career.
However, Beethoven was always among his priorities. Between 1984 and 1989 the pianist made a number of recordings for the Soviet State Radio. The Eroica-Variations—one of those—was recently rediscovered in the Moscow Radio archive, and is featured on the upcoming recording.
Konstantin Scherbakov’s prior Beethoven recordings include also a highly regarded interpretation of the Diabelli Variations (1997, Naxos), which Classic FM praised as “a simply stupendous account” of the work. This was followed by the cycle all of Liszt’s piano transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies on five discs (1998-2004, Naxos). Two of these recordings were awarded a coveted German Critic’s Prize.
Over the course of his prolific career, Scherbakov has performed all of Beethoven’s piano concertos around the globe. He is perhaps the only pianist in the world that has an active repertoire featuring every Liszt- Beethoven symphonic transcription, in addition to all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. The pianist’s own conducting debut, with the Milan orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in 2002 was dedicated to Beethoven’s works. Scherbakov’s formidable skills at the keyboard have been characterised
as displaying “a white-hot intensity that makes for thrilling listening” (MusicWeb International), giving him the ability to create “music on the brink of impossibility” (Wiener Zeitung).
Scherbakov has been in demand at many famous music festivals, including the Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Festival, the Klavierfestival Ruhr, and the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. He has also appeared in the world’s finest concert venues. It is a testament to Scherbakov’s superb pianism that Gramophone, the leading English-language classical recording magazine, wrote that his “keyboard facility, his pinpoint articulation, his unerring sense of rhythmic drive and security, his weaving together of the many layers and voices and his sense of colour and phrasing are all a joy to listen to”.