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4.0 out of 5 stars happy hundredth, 1 Jan 2014
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Piano Concerti 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
The Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto is 100 years old this year (2013); the First is a year older -- and both belong to Prokofiev's conservatory years. He's very much setting out to be the enfant terrible in these works, but as played here by Vladimir Feltsman, well accompanied by Tilson Thomas and the LSO, they sound energetic and charming rather than revolutionary. There are the sudden transitions between the motoric and the limpidly lyrical, between the pianos and the fortes, but our ears have grown accustomed to weirder things, and besides, Feltsman plays with great warmth, even when he's raising the roof. The piano tone is lovely throughout, and I was reminded at times of passages in Mussorgsky's "Pictures" and even bits of "Nutcracker," because the music does seem to be characterizing something and not just seeking to impress with the required virtuosity. Not that there isn't virtuosity -- the second movement of the Second Concerto goes like the dickens, and there is complicated and dense piano writing in the long cadenza that seems to take almost half the first movement of that concerto and which Feltsman handles beautifully. The third movement, designated "Intermezzo" is perhaps the most striking, with its two very strongly differentiated themes. If you own Beroff's or Ashkenazy's set, I don't know that this is a must-buy, but on its own terms, and in fine 1988 sound, it's very appealing.
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