Magazine article Gramophone

Bartok * Prokofiev: Bartok Piano Concerto No 2, Sz95

Magazine article Gramophone

Bartok * Prokofiev: Bartok Piano Concerto No 2, Sz95

Article excerpt

Bartok * Prokofiev

Bartok Piano Concerto No 2, Sz95

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3, Op 26

Lang Lang pf

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Simon Rattle

Sony Classical [F] 88883 73226-2 (60' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Lang Lang in Berlin for two composers' best concertos

Luxury casting and the apt, imaginative coupling of the greatest concertos by their respective composers are the ingredients for a potential best-seller--and an early Christmas present. Does it cut the mustard? In most respects, yes. The sound picture is a happy halfway house between resonant empty concert hall and dry, characterless studio. Aurally it packs a terrific punch. The basses have a firm, clear focus and the balance between soloist and orchestra is nigh-on ideal --though I suspect some artificial spotlighting in the outer movements of both concertos.

Lang Lang gives a persuasive account of the Prokofiev. His finely observed detail (listen to how he responds to the accents in Variation 3 of the second movement), the full use of the piano's sumptuous sonority and dynamic range and his effortless technical mastery would excite anyone's admiration. …

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