Trifonov Live

COMPOSERS: Chopin,Liszt & Medtner
LABELS: Deutsche Grammophon
ALBUM TITLE: Trifonov Live
WORKS: Chopin: Rondo à la mazur; Grande valse brillante, Op. 18; Etude in F, Op. 10/8; Andante spianato & grande polonaise brillante; Mazurkas Op. 56 Nos 1-3; Sonata No. 3 in B minor • The Carnegie Recital: Scriabin: Piano Sonata No. 2 (Sonata-Fantasy) • Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor • Chopin: 24 Preludes • Medtner: Skazki, Op. 26/2
PERFORMER: Daniil Trifonov (piano)

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Daniil Trifonov’s zoom to fame, underpinned by three major competition prizes in 2010-11, might look almost too impressive for comfort – but it seems to be justified. Aged only 23, his trademarks include an extraordinary, inspired intensity mingled with a veritable flood of insight and imagination. These two CDs, first issued separately, were recorded respectively live at La Fenice in Venice in 2011 and at Trifonov’s Carnegie Hall recital debut in February 2013.

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The Fenice concert presents fine playing throughout, from the charm of the Rondo to the melodic outpourings and high drama of the Sonata; but the sound quality is rather dry and loud passages sometimes become surprisingly clangorous. The Carnegie recital, though, is another story: here Trifonov’s levels of energy and inspiration would probably be enough to fuel at least two usual pianists. His sensitivity to atmosphere, voicing and fleeting textures allows Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2 to burst into colourful and fantastical flame; the Liszt B minor Sonata progresses like a great novel unfurling, with an unerring pace to the drama; and the Chopin Preludes are filled with limitless magical detail. One could pick out the marvellously long lines in the E minor or the A flat major preludes; the pointillist fingerwork in the D major and C sharp minor; his rapt, mysterious pedal effects, an artform in itself. Every piece has a defined soundworld; nothing is repetitive; each feels lit from within, as if improvised on the spot. This is a treat and a half. Jessica Duchen