Liszt, Bizet & Rossini

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bizet & Rossini,Liszt
LABELS: RCA Red Seal
ALBUM TITLE: Denis Matsuev: A Tribute to Horowitz
WORKS: Carmen Variations; Barbiere Fantasy
PERFORMER: Denis Matsuev
CATALOGUE NO: 82876 61273 2
Ignoring the cheap marketing ploy of

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the title, this is at times an electrifying

disc. Winner of the 1998 Tchaikovsky

Competition, Denis Matsuev (b1975)

revels in his own thrilling virtuosity.

His Liszt has an authentic rhetorical

flair, and although he is at his best

in coruscating acrobatics rather than

in poised reflection, he clearly has

a good ear for texture and sonority.

The Second Hungarian Rhapsody

doesn’t have Volodos’s refinement

(Sony), but Matsuev includes his own

deliciously audacious jazz cadenza that

should make you smile. A pianistically

stunning pulverisation of Horowitz’s

Carmen Variations is followed by

a more graceful wit in Ginzburg’s

Barbiere Fantasy (contrary to the

booklet’s claim, not a first recording).

Overall, for all Matsuev’s scorching

virtuosity, one occasionally wishes he

would take a little more time to let the

music breathe. Indeed, this short disc

could easily have included some more

reflective items to balance so much

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high-voltage pianism. Tim Parry