Prokofiev's piano concertos allow the pianist ample opportunity to display technical brilliance, and Kempf makes full use of it to dazzle the ear. Happily, he also displays thoughtfulness and a real aptitude for revealing Prokofiev's sometimes quirky personality. Andrew Litton shows himself to be a sensitive accompanist with his virtuosic Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Prokofiev's sonata no.2 is an intermission between his concertos nos. 2 and 3, but is hardly 18 minutes of rest and relaxation for the listener or the hard-worked pianist. Kempf articulates it brilliantly.
The stereo and 5.0 tracks need about 3 dB extra level on my equipment to achieve my average listening level, when the realistically high dynamic range is revealed, without a hint of compression. Frequency range is also wide, but I would have liked a little more mid-range presence to mitigate slight thinness and a little shrillness in the upper reaches of the woodwinds. It would also help to warm the piano tone; balance between piano and orchestra is realistic, i.e. the piano is not obviously boosted as in many recordings (but still clearly audible at all times). Orchestral balance is also very good.
The rear channels supply some ambience, and as a whole the effect is slightly dry, and ideally clear.