6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Prokofiev's 5 Piano Concertos +,
This review is from: Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (Audio CD)
This double CD contains all five piano concertos by Prokofiev and two very worthwhile `fillers'. The concertos are played by Michel Beroff with Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by its long-term conductor, Kurt Masur. Whether it's the relatively short (15 min) single movement student composition that became the Piano Concerto No.1 or the longer and more demanding 2nd and 3rd concertos, Beroff shows he is equal to the challenge. The best known of the set are probably the 1st, 3rd and 5th concertos and I wasn't so familiar with Nos. 2 or 4 myself when I bought his record. But the performances soon won me over and now I would be hard-pressed to choose a favourite. The Piano Concerto No.4 for left hand was composed for pianist Paul Wittgensten after he had lost an arm in World War I. I heard but decided not to buy the Askenazy performances of these concertos with Previn and the LSO, despite being a great fan of Previn's performances of 20th century Russian music, because they lack the sparkle of the Beroff interpretations with Masur.
As to the fillers: there is the short Overture on Jewish Themes that Prokofiev was asked to write by a group of Jewish musicians when he visited them in New York in 1919. On this CD we have the original version for a rather unusual chamber sextet (piano, clarinet, and string quartet) rather than the more often heard orchestrated version that he prepared in 1934. In addition there is the much more substantial `Visions fugitives' (21 min) for piano solo, brilliantly but sympathetically played by Beroff. The title was suggested to Prokofiev by the poetry of Russian poet Konstantin Balmont: `In every fugitive vision I see worlds / Full of the changing play of rainbow hues'. A great double CD.