Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: Classic FM
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2
PERFORMER: Aleksander Madzar (piano)Frankfurt RSO/Dmitri Kitaenko
CATALOGUE NO: 75605 57009 2
Excuse me, Classic FM, but how exactly do you decide that Chopin’s piano concertos are both ‘uplifting’ and ‘exhilarating’ to three degrees (out of five) yet only ‘joyful’ by two? And why is there no provision for them being exciting or majestic or anguished?

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So much for the star rating on the packaging. What lies beneath the revolting exterior is really quite good. Aleksander Madzar is a very fine young pianist – at the 1996 Leeds Competition he charmed all the audiences and won third prize. His phrasing is sensitive, his tone is songful and his approach is natural and refreshing. Less satisfying is Kitaenko’s orchestral accompaniment, which is over-fussy, at times almost contrived and lacking in the refined grace necessary, for instance, in the last movement of the second concerto. Sound quality is reasonable. Jessica Duchen