Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G; Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat

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COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G; Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat
PERFORMER: Peter Jablonski (piano); Philharmonia Orchestra/Charles Dutoit
CATALOGUE NO: 448 180-2 DDD
The young Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski recorded Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto for Decca some two years ago, and now turns to the less well known, and textually problematic, successors.

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Tchaikovsky died before the Second Piano Concerto was published, with substantial cuts, but Jablonski – as has become more common – uses the original version, thus restoring in full the sumptuous Andante, cast as a triple concerto with violin and cello. Jablonski and his fellow soloists here summon up a chamber-like intimacy, heightened by Dutoit’s restrained tempi. Despite that, and despite some bravura passage-work from Jablonski in the outer movements, the concerto seems baggy, a series of discrete – if effective – musical impulses rather than an epic whole, and is less persuasive than Peter Donohoe’s vibrant account on EMI.

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The Third Piano Concerto began as a symphonic sketch (reconstructed into a ‘Seventh Symphony’ by Bogatiryov in the Fifties), and was left as a one-movement concert piece for piano and orchestra. The version here uses the second and third movements as arranged by Sergei Taneyev, Tchaikovsky’s star pupil. It is an ebullient work, played by Jablonski with panache, although he is rather let down by an occasionally muddy sound. William Humphreys-Jones