Busoni: Piano Concerto; Fantasia contrappuntistica

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WORKS: Piano Concerto; Fantasia contrappuntistica
PERFORMER: Victoria Postnikova (piano); Chorus of Radio France, French National Orchestra/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
CATALOGUE NO: 3984-24248-2 Reissue (1991)
There is a sense of serenity in the solemn orchestral preamble to this massive concerto, the woodwind piercing the thick orchestral texture like reluctant sunbeams on a hazy morning. It sets the tone for the performance: urgent dotted rhythms herald an increase in pace, but nothing seems capable of disturbing the sensuous lethargy. It is a glorious five minutes or so but by the time the piano arrives with its thundering chords it is a real struggle for Postnikova to bring the Concerto to life. Through the remaining four movements, Rozhdestvensky continues to favour a mood of sonorous reflection at the expense of rhythmic vitality or vivid orchestral colour. The intellectual Busoni might have approved, but the music has more to offer than this. Christopher Lambton