Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3; Piano Concerto No. 4; Piano Concerto No. 5

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Prokofiev
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3; Piano Concerto No. 4; Piano Concerto No. 5
PERFORMER: Kun Woo Paik (piano)Polish National Orchestra/Antoni Wit
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550565/6 DDD
Kun Woo Paik’s particular qualities are best revealed in the most popular, tuneful and elegant of these concertos – the Third, whose first movement he attacks with springy eagerness, though some of the spring has gone by the end. The Second Concerto is turgid, though obviously meant to excite. The Fifth is an effective showpiece; the total effect, with insistently stomping rhythms, is of exasperated energy.

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It’s a patchy set of compositions, not badly served here but requiring more alchemy in performance. The recordings are clear and airy, but the orchestra is a little too quiet and sounds like a mere accompaniment. Adrian Jack