Magazine article Gramophone

Gershwin * Ravel: Gershwin Piano Concerto

Magazine article Gramophone

Gershwin * Ravel: Gershwin Piano Concerto

Article excerpt

Gershwin * Ravel

Gershwin Piano Concerto Ravel Piano Concertos--in G; for the Left Hand Denis Kozhukhin pf Suisse Romande Orchestra / Kazuki Yamada Pentatone (F) [SACD] PTC5186 620 (75' * DDD/DSD)

Like many of the young musicians of the post-Soviet diaspora, Denis Kozhukhin naturally sought out Russian teachers in the West, but not exclusively.

Though an unshakeable Russianness is at the core of his musical personality, to a greater degree than many of his contemporaries who have spent significant time outside their homeland, Kozhukhin seems open to Western influences. He has become cosmopolitan, in the best sense of the word. It's an attribute that is immediately discernible in his new Pentatone release of Ravel and Gershwin concertos.

From the sparkling, perky opening measures of the Ravel G major Concerto, it's clear that a remarkable performance is in store. In a work that, in lesser hands and imaginations, can seem a patchwork of influences, Kozhukhin fully inhabits Ravel's protean topoi with the dextrous ease of a quick-change artist. The Adagio assai unfolds with an unguarded simplicity that goes straight to the heart with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. Despite all the precision, drollery, constantly shifting colours and breathtaking speed of the finale, one affect is prevalent: tremendous fun. Yamada and the OSR musicians are the lithe participants and, on occasion, enablers of this exhilarating performance.

The Concerto for the Left Hand, so different from the G major Concerto in style and intent, is given a performance where poise, emotional resonance and clarity exist in perfect symbiosis. …

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