Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
on 28 February 2014
At the time of writing there are two previous reviews on Amazon UK, both praising the virtuosity of the soloist but one finding the characterisation of the first concerto unsatisfactory. I can sympathise with this view, but can also understand why the artists wished to avoid making 'just another' recording of Tchaikovsky's very familiar first concerto. Please bear in mind that I find it possible to accommodate a range of interpretations when I say that I enjoy this one a great deal; if you feel you may not then this recording may not be for you - unless like me you are keen to have a SACD of the second concerto. As has been pointed out, this is the first available.
My reason for bothering to add a review is to mention the recording. I have reviewed several of the Mariinsky SACD issues, and have not been totally happy with the sound of any. This one, I'm afraid, continues in a similar vein, and, looking back at my review of the Rachmaninov 3rd concerto with the same artists, I find similar criticisms coming to mind. The piano is balanced forwardly, and solo contributions from the orchestra also. Violins lack body, and overall I feel the frequency balance mirrors this. There is minimal ambience and the rear channels add little. All in all I do not hear a believable concert hall sound, and have to make some comparison with the LSO Live series of SACDs, many of which are not enhanced by the Barbican hall.
Matsuev's virtuosity and Gergiev's accompaniment do a great deal to mask my doubts, however, and hence I can give my qualified welcome to this release.