on 8 May 2016
It's been a great experience to explore these five Prokofiev Piano Concertos in excellent sound by Chandos (2014) and played by the French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. I first became aware of him in 2007 when he released five volumes of Debussy's piano music to great acclaim, including Editor's Choice on Gramophone. I soon became aware of his sensitive but commanding touch and very much enjoyed listening to his interpretations of those Debussy recordings.
Now he has impressed me with his interpretations of Prokofiev's complete Piano Concertos rivalling other recordings that I have, including Michel Beroff on EMI, Martha Argerich on EMI and DG plus Boris Berman and Horacio Gutierrez also on Chandos.
The more I listened to Bavouzet playing these Concertos the more I became mesmerised by his stunning playing like in Prokofiev's most difficult second Piano Concerto or his more popular third Concerto.
But his playing too in Prokofiev's technically difficult Piano Concerto's No.4 (For the left hand) and No.5 showed real power in low registers and fast passages.
He is accompanied by Conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic who's playing is fine throughout these Concertos with rich strings and strong brass.
Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic have already shown a flair for Russian composers with their superb recordings of Rachmaninov's three Symphonies also for Chandos around 2008-11.
on 10 February 2014
Any worries about French romanticism suffocating the excitement of the Russian infant terrible can be set aside. Bavouzet promised much in his recording of the Bartok concertos whilst showing in his Debussy that he cam plumb the depths of pianistic impressionism. Here he shows that Prokovfiev is more than just a sequence of hammering blows to the keyboard, but is indeed the worthy composer of Romeo and Juliet. The concerti themselves are awe inspiring, but here they explode in all their majesty.
on 25 March 2014
I'm not competent to compare this with other recordings, but it was a revelation for me. My exposure to Prokofiev has been quite limited, so I was stunned to discover in these concertos a musical language which was coherent, distinctive, confident, and which spoke so strongly to me. Wonderful.