Prokofiev

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Album title:
Prokofiev
Composer(s):
Prokofiev
Works:
Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 3; Overture on Hebrew Themes
Performer:
Simon Trpčeski (piano); Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko
Label:
Onyx
Catalogue Number:
ONYX 4140
Performance:
starstarstarstarnostar
Recording:
starstarstarstarstar
4
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Prokofiev

We already know from their impressive Rachmaninov cycle that Simon Trpceski and Vasily Petrenko work exceptionally well together in delivering musically insightful and rhythmically dynamic performances. The same virtues are present in this compelling Prokofiev programme, in particular the vivid sense of interaction between soloist and orchestra which is so essential in these effervescent works. Even in the First Piano Concerto, the orchestra is by no means relegated to a subservient role. A clear recording and a fine balance between piano and orchestra certainly helps to ensure that the maximum amount of inner detail comes to the fore. But Trpceski also plays an important role in determining exactly when to be dominant and when to appear comparatively restrained. I also like the overall trajectory of this performance, in particular how after their lyrically subdued account of the central Andante assai, Trpceski and Petrenko ratchet up the tension in the final movement and thereby make the return of the memorable opening theme near the end sound all the more triumphant.

If Trpceski’s performance of the Third Concerto doesn’t project quite the same degree of insouciance as in Argerich’s classic recording, there is still much to marvel at. In particular, the unanimity of ensemble between piano and strings in the rushing scalic passages of the first movement and the helter-skelter acrobatics of the final bars come off brilliantly. But Trpceski and Petrenko are no less effective in sculpting the deep-freeze chill of the fourth variation in the central movement. With a characterful performance of the Overture on Hebrew Themes as a welcome bonus, this is a promising first disc in what presumably will be a complete Prokofiev Piano Concerto series.

Erik Levi

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