Some artists grow into a sort of proprietary relationship with certain pieces of music. If anyone today owns this concerto, it's Martha Argerich. She's recorded it three times, and this latest version seems to sum up an entire lifetime of living with and loving the music. Not only does Argerich simply find more in the notes than almost anyone else, she also does it with a sense of complete spontaneity and naturalness. She's also the most exciting pianist alive, which certainly doesn't hurt in such dazzling music. Claudio Abbado is one of her regular concerto accompanists, and he knows better than to try to take over an Argerich performance. This is her show, and he gives her the kind of support she needs to feel free to work her interpretive magic. – David Hurwitz
This 2014 Decca release of two famous Russian piano concertos, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor and Sergey Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, cannot be faulted for a lack of practice, because Behzod Abduraimov has played these works on numerous occasions. In 2009, he won the London International Piano Competition with his fiery reading of the Prokofiev, and in 2014 he took the Tchaikovsky on tour internationally, so there's only a question of how fresh the playing can be after numerous performances. Chalk it up to youthful resilience or personal charisma, but Abduraimov shows abundant energy and brilliance, qualities that aren't worn down by the physical demands of these works. If anything, he appears to relish the opportunity to play them with different conductors and orchestras, each time giving his all in collaborative efforts that have won critical praise everywhere he has performed.
Who else in todays piano world could be associated with the concept of the master of piano? A definitive icon of contemporary piano performance, Martha Argerichs unique musical profile is illustrated by this 3-CD anthology that draws upon her 1965 Chopin recordings and her yearly chamber performances given in Lugano. Featuring outstanding musical partners including Renaud Capuçon, Nelson Freire, Gidon Kremer, Maria-João Pires, Gautier Capuçon, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Charles Dutoit, and Daniel Barenboim, this 3-CD set presents outstanding mastery on all fronts. CD Listing: CD 1: Concertos CD 2: Musique de Chambre CD 3: Piano Solo.
Although the U.S.S.R.'s system of identifying and training musically talented youngsters produced amazingly precocious pianists on a regular basis, Evgeny Kissin stood out from the rest for a talent far surpassing that of the usual Wunderkind. He has become, seemingly without difficulty, one of the finest adult pianists on the world's concert stages…
Fazil Say's dynamic pianism has created quite a buzz, and his version of these two warhorses helps explain why. There's little anyone can add to what Richter, Gilels, Argerich, and others have revealed about the Tchaikovsky, but Say's flawless playing, big technique, and fetching sonorities are welcome. He rises to the big moments, of course, but he's best at conveying the poetry of a score whose proponents too often wallow in bombast…–Dan Davis