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Pletnev Live at Carnegie Hall

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Audio CD, January 30, 2001
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Pletnev Live at Carnegie Hall + Scriabin: 24 Preludes Op.11, Piano Sonatas Nos. 4 & 10
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Editorial Reviews

The 44-year-old Russian pianist-conductor Mikhail Pletnev made a belated Carnegie Hall debut as a pianist in November 2000. Listening to that recital on this CD confirms the wisdom of the pianist's decision to resign as music director of the Russian National Orchestra. In the Bach-Busoni "Chaconne," Pletnev's crescendos wash over the listener like tidal waves; the mighty edifice of the music seems to rise, mysteriously and inexorably, on its own. The angry surges in the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata, opus 111, are perhaps overdrawn. But the concluding movement's variations glide by as if in a dream, suggesting the transformation of the earlier movement's passionate anger into a vision of Paradise beyond the power of words to describe. In Chopin's Four Scherzos, Pletnev emphasizes too many details and inhibits the music's lyrical sweep. But the charm and dazzling pyrotechnics of his encores help make this the first great piano recording of the millennium. After Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Scarlatti, and Moszkowski, Pletnev's fifth and final encore was Balakirev's transcendentally difficult Islamey. The superhuman virtuosity, sonorous splendor, and Technicolor exoticism of this performance will knock your socks off--and the rest of your clothes as well! --Stephen Wigler

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
  1. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 - Chaconne in D minor14:22Album Only
  2. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111 - 1. Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato 9:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111 - 2. Arietta (Adagio molto semplice e cantabile)16:38Album Only
  4. Chopin: Scherzo No.1 in B minor, Op.2010:04Album Only
  5. Chopin: Scherzo No.2 in B flat minor, Op.3110:33Album Only
  6. Chopin: Scherzo No.3 in C sharp minor, Op.39 7:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Chopin: Scherzo No.4 in E, Op.5410:38Album Only

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
  1. Rachmaninov: Etude-Tableau in E flat minor, Op.39, No.5 - Appassionato 5:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Scriabin: 2 Poèmes, Op.32 - 1. Poème in F sharp 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. D. Scarlatti: Sonata in D minor, K.9 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Moszkowski: Etude in F major, op.72, no.6 - Presto 1:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Balakirev: Islamey - Presto con fuoco 8:38$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Mikhail Pletnev
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninov, Alexander Scriabin, et al.
  • Audio CD (January 30, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000056PRG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,196 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By condoraji on February 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
One of my musical highlights last year was attending Mikhael Pletnev's recital at Carnegie Hall, and I must say that it is extremely appropriate for this concert to have been recorded. The quality of the music is at its fullest. Pletnev manages at all times to show a very high level of virtuosism, but never for a second abandoning the musical maturity of a great musician. The combination never fails to give us daring, interesting, impressive and new results.
The Chacone is an extremely tough piece that challenges the pianist in every way conceivable during the full fifteen minutes of its length. In it, Pletnev plays with an interesting approach that is full of sonority. The huge chords just resonate in the air and together create a wonderful ambiance for the harmonies and melody to unfold. Beethoven's last piano Sonata is such an interesting work because each pianist does such a different thing with it. Pletnev plays it with with a huge range of emotions and does a supberb version of it. Its definitely closer, for example, to Pogorelich's interpretation than Arrau's. Its bold and yet, subtle and sublime.
Chopin's Scherzos are also pieces that allow virtuosism to overflow. However, to play them well requires a lot more than just that. What Pletnev does with them it exquisite. I cannot forget the experience of the second scherzo (the one that can almost make you sick if it isn't played really well) being a total surprise for me. In the slow section Pletnev makes the piano sing melodies that I had never heard before, melodies of great musical depth. The playing is, in my opionion, a lot more profound and stimulating than Rubinstein's. A most extraordinary effort by Pletnev.
This was the official ending of the concert.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Alex Serrano on March 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
As well as another reviewer for this double cd, i was also at the concert and am very happy this recital was taped including the encores. Pletnev plays the 4 Chopin scherzos in a daredevil act following the footsteps of Sviatoslav Richter's Carnegie Hall debut more than 30 years ago. It pays off with outstanding bravura, lyricism, and sober planning and laying out of the works. The Bach-Busoni Chaconne is a viruosic approach, however never neglecting the dark angst of the original violin solo. The encores include Balakiriev's Islamey which truly brought the house down - amazing speed and clarity. But at the concert, those of us fortunate to remember even without this disc, the most memorable moments came in the Beethoven sonata #32 - i remember the deep respect of the public, the spaciousness of the hall, and that loud silence which very rarely a performer is granted in recognition by the public. Get this cd if you went to the concert - but more important if you missed it, you will be able to understand the enthrallment shared by us who were there.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Leach on March 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I've never heard Pletnev playing the piano, only conducting, but I'd like to on the strength of this recording. The Beethoven sonata op.111 comes of best, I think: the first movement is a struggle, as it should be, while the Arietta is beautifully played, if not sounding quite as valedictory as on Barenboim's EMI version from the 1960s which is my benchmark.
Pletnev's Chopin Scherzi are dazzling, with the occasional quirk or mannerism. Here and there I prefer Pogorelich, also on DG, but those are studio recordings, and to play with such awesome fluency in a live concert is a remarkable achievement.
Appplause is included throughout the disc, and Pletnev's habit of starting a piece when the applause for the previous one has barely died down is a little disconcerting, but it does transmit the continuity and excitement of the occasion.
The second CD enshrines Pletnev's interpretation on Balakirev's Islamey (rather a long work for an encore), which is fast and furious, although (as in the Chopin) his cantabile playing in the central section is beautiful. Occasionally he runs away with himself virtuosity-wise (some of the Rachmaninov Etude-tableau sound a bit choppy, and the closing bars of Islamey become more of a maelstrom of sound rather than a genuine denouement), but altogether this is a fine release.
Excellent sound: the piano is vivid without being too close, and the ambience is ideal for this type of playing.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By P. Rah on April 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I have, like the other reviewer, not heard Pletnev as a pianist, although I knew that he was a pianist as well as conductor, of which he does a brilliant job. So I wasn't sure what to expect from this recital. I have to say that I envy the two reviewers who had the great fortune to see this pianist live at Carnegie Hall very much.
Well, I was in for an exciting musical trip. From the first note of the Bach Chaconne, his pianistic talent just blew me away. Here was a decidely heavy reading of the piano transcription of the famous violin piece. It is a passionate account. I had not heard Bach played on the piano like that before, so I was a little shocked. It had its logic in it, not just passion and fire in the playing, which I found refreshing. So many Bach performances that are full of romantic passion - which is not a bad thing - lack intelligence and logic, so it fails to become a coherent reading. I didn't find that to be true with Pletnev's playing.
The Beethoven I found was amazing, to say the least. Here is a reading of such inward intensity, that I found myself almost not breathing - like most of the live Carnegie Hall audience (notorious for the passionate roar if they aprrove of a performance), who were sooooo silent throughout the whole sonata. It is so hard to INTERPRET the late sonatas of Beethoven well, because they are so enigmatic in many ways. But Pletnev takes this challenge and surprisingly succeeds. It is intelligent, but never mechanical, and I think that's very rare. But with a pianist of Pletnev's stature, such things might be taken for granted.
Not that everything in this recital is perfect. Almost, but not quite. The Chopin scherzi are played, again, with imagination. But for op.39, it sounds like mannerism.
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