Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos-No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos-No 1

Article excerpt

Tchaikovsky

Piano Concertos--No 1, Op 23; No 2, Op 44 Simon TrpCeski pf Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko Onyx [M] ONYX4135 (71' * DDD)

Tchaikovsky's much-maligned Second Concerto is still a relative rarity so any new recording is an event, especially with a line-up as classy as this one. Simon Trpceski declares in the note that he'd long wanted to play the piece and to bring out its 'sunny side'. This he certainly does with a brisk opening movement (so much more convincing than Cherkassky's strangely dogged affair)--very much along the lines of Graffrnan, Marshev and Donohoe in terms of spirit. The decision to use Silotd's monstrous cut in the slow movement is a pity, though he's in good company--with only Donohoe and Marshev opting for the full-fat original. However, I do find Trpceski's desychronised hands in the piano's soliloquies a touch mannered and, though his Liverpool string soloists are lustrous-sounding, Donohoe has the almost ludicrously luxury casting of Nigel Kennedy and Steven Isserlis. Graffman's Philadelphia players are also intensely characterful and wonderfully forwardly recorded. The finale sparkles in Petrenko's hands, with some perky wind-playing, but Trpceski tends to be a bit heavy-handed with the accentuation (Gilels, superb in the slow movement, is a touch steady here compared to Trpceski and Donohoe).

The First Concerto is of course a very different animal. If ever there's a place for ego in music, it's here: I want to be mesmerised by the charisma of the person seated at the piano. …

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