In the third of three new landmark albums on the Decca label, Nelson Freire marks his 70th birthday year with a stunning recording of Chopin’s lyrical and brilliant Piano Concerto No. 2. The recording was made in Cologne with the Gurzenich-Orchester Koln and Lionel Bringuier, one of the most talked-about of the younger generation of conductors. The release also features some favorite Chopin solo works including a Ballade, Berceuse, Polonaise and three Mazurkas.
Joaquim Homs was a Catalonian composer, schooled in Schoenberg's twelve-tone techniques, so one might expect to hear music that shouts "I'm different, I'm learned, respect me!" However, Homs' piano music, particularly as played by Jordi Masó, speaks more for the person who wrote it, rather than for itself. Much of it is atonal and composed following prescribed techniques, but it is at the same time very evocative and emotionally expressive.AllMusic
There's no question about pianist Kateryna Titova's technique in her debut recital, and a good thing, too, since the program consists entirely of works by Rachmaninov, the composer of some of the most transcendentally difficult piano music of the fin de siècle. But no matter what the Russian composer asks for -- be it the tumults of notes that open the Allegro agitato of his Second Piano Sonata, the ethereal ostinatos that start the Prélude in G minor, the monumental sonorities that fill the Prélude in C sharp minor, or the feathery arabesques that saturate the composer's transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee -- the young Ukrainian-born, German-based pianist nails them all. If that were all Titova brought to this music, it would be remarkable but not unusual; there are many pianists out there who could do the same...James Leonard, Rovi
"…But if the concerto proves too rarefied, much sturdier fare is provided in the Fantasia on Polish Airs in A major, Op. 13, and the Andante spianato and grande polonaise, two concertante works that have moments of serene beauty similar to those in the Piano Concerto No. 2, but are balanced with bravura passages for both the pianist and orchestra. Sony's sound quality is pleasantly balanced and naturally resonant." ~allmusicguide
“…an exciting technique and keen intelligence animated by an impetuous temperament…a remarkable talent.”(The New York Times)
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev has established himself as one of the most dynamic and virtuosic performers of his generation, and his program on this RCA album with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic is ideally suited to his extraordinary abilities. The pairing of Sergey Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a natural one, particularly because of the works' shared post-romanticism (note Rachmaninov's influence on Gershwin's slow theme in the Rhapsody), as well as for the dazzling writing for the piano in both works. Of course, the challenge for Matsuev is to make his part appear effortless, and he succeeds so well in both performances that listeners may be a bit blasé about his playing, taking it in without really considering what knuckle-busters these pieces really are.