COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky & Chopin
ALBUM TITLE: Mikhail Pletnev
WORKS: 18 Pieces, Op. 72
PERFORMER: Mikhail Pletnev (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 477 5378
While Pletnev’s engagingly idiosyncratic and occasionally provocative interpretations can saturate the music with his own personality, sometimes at the expense of accepted stylistic tradition, he has always had a unique affinity with Tchaikovsky. Here, in a performance of the 18 Pieces, Op. 72, taken live from a concert in Zurich last year, he again reveals his pianistic excellence and imaginative scope.
The intensity with which Pletnev characterises each of these miniatures brings the music vividly to life. With an exquisite range of colour and a magical way of moulding a singing line, he emphasises the music’s Schumannesque poetry (try the opening of ‘Méditation’, for example); and when required he can also unleash an all-encompassing virtuosity – the ‘Polacca de concert’ and ‘Scherzo-fantaisie’ among others. Overall, it is the poise and sheer eloquence of the pianissimo playing that is most striking. Chopin’s C sharp minor Nocturne given as an encore is undeniably ravishing but overwrought on repeated hearings. Nevertheless, captured in warm and detailed sound, this is an exceptional disc. Tim Parry