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Piano Concertos 2 & 3 Enhanced

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, June 2, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Piano superstar Evgeny Kissin's new Prokofiev album - with his first-ever recording of Piano Concerto No. 2!

For his third EMI Classics release, piano legend Evgeny Kissin has turned to repertoire from his native Russia, Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concertos Nos.2 & 3. The performances were recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in January 2008 with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra.

This is Kissin's first recording of Prokofiev's Concerto No.2, and the collaboration here with Vladimir Ashkenazy is an inspired choice - in addition to his renown as a conductor, fellow-Russian-born Ashkenazy is one of the finest pianists of his generation and a champion of the Russian piano repertoire. These two great artists inspire each other to the heights of artistry, and these recordings prove it!


One in a generation. -- Billboard

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor, Op.16 - Andantino
  2. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor, Op.16 - Scherzo
  3. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor, Op.16 - Intermezzo
  4. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor, Op.16 - Finale
  5. Piano Concerto No.3 in C Major, Op.26 - Allegro, ma non troppo
  6. Piano Concerto No.3 in C Major, Op.26 - Tema & Variation

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ashkenazy
  • Composer: Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (June 2, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B001KYJA7O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,310 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By drdanfee VINE VOICE on June 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like these two Prokofiev piano concertos, you should probably get them right away per this disc. These readings are a crazy, bold, brash mix of lyrical song, motoric industrial display, tonal colors, and perceptible Russian folk music inflections (shotgun wedded to French musical sophistication and clarity).

Yes, a mish mash, and what a mish mash. Dazzling. It's too much, really. It shouldn't work, musically. Yet what a careening ride in a fast machine?

Kissin recorded the first and third piano concertos under Abbado in Berlin, early on in his DGG career. Those readings were stunning with promise and energy; but perhaps Abbado's influence tended to blend and smooth over, softening some of the wildest Prokofiev-rough edges?

Ashkenazy has himself done a complete piano concerto set under Andre Previn with the LSO. I hold that older set in high regard, tilted just a tad in favor of the pianist over the band and conductor. Other complete sets have something to offer, no doubt. Toradze with Gergiev just misses being the total bomb. Beroff is a fine Prokofiev pianist, but I have also-ran doubts about Kurt Masur in Leipzig. Krainev with Kitaenko in Frankfurt is a better pianist-conductor-band match, to my ears. I really like Kun Woo Paik, and feel that most of the time Antoni Wit keeps up with PNRSO. Finally, bravo - to Testament for re-releasing the John Browning concertos with Leinsdorf in Boston.

My lasting touchstones have highlighted single disc readings. Andrei Gavrilov in the first piano concerto, LSO, Simon Rattle conducting. I like the second piano concertos by Yundi Li, Nikolai Demidenko, Igor Ardasev.
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Format: Audio CD
In the divide between 5 star and 2-3 star ratings, I am in the the 5 star camp, though for somewhat independent reasons.
It states clearly on the CD that it was recorded in concert. I heard the
concerti in London and Birmingham. I know Evgeny Kissin also played them
elsewhere. So, while we do not know what was recorded where, we do know
that the recordings were live in concert. It makes no sense for EMI to misrepresent that, and with his painstaking integrity, Mr Kissin would never approve it.
Sometimes live performances can sound a little hollow or flat when recorded live, and there may be coughing, applause or other noise. These recordings are just the music, beautifully >recorded with great immediacy, and played with extraordinary intellectual, emotional and technical power and thrilling brilliance.
I love the spirited energy of the performances and the way the pianist expressed that with a lyrical late romantic roundness of the sound. I certainly like other performances of these works too, starting with Sergei Prokofiev himself, and including Messrs Vladimir Ashkenazy and Grigory Sokolov. As with Mr Kissin's Beethoven cycle, my only reservation is about the orchestral accompaniment. That does not affect my rating overall because the soloist's playing is so terrific, just as I would not want Prokofiev's own performance any less because of the orchestral support he received from the London Symphony under Piero Coppola.
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1 Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
What in the world would a newcomer to this CD, or to Amazon's review system, take away from the posts so far? Certainly not a coherent picture musically. The windy postings in the one- and five-star category are unusually eccentric. The blogosphere unleashes strange minds.

Approaching this CD without prejudice, I'm in agreement with Mr. Behr, who points to vivid, visceral recorded sound -- the piano is caught with real depth and impact -- and Kissin's extraordinary technical prowess. In terms of keyboard mastery, we are at the very highest echelon, the territory of Horowitz and Pollini. Kissin is perfectly at ease in the Prokofiev Second, making child's play of passages that are often banged out with effort. Prokofiev's keyboard idiom embraced motor rhythms and the percussive side of the piano's range, as did Bartok. The Second takes his modernism to a farther extreme than any other of the five concertos, which accounts for its neglect, both in the past and present. Kissin is less bombastic than most, and his mastery over the idiom cannot be faulted. He may be dubious in Beethoven, but in Russian music he's unassailable.

The Third Cto. is Prokofiev's most popular by far, and the range of great recordings extends back as far as William Kapell in the early Fifties to Gary Graffman in the Sixties (with George Szell as a razor-sharp but elegant accompanist) and Argerich among contemporaries. Kissin re4turns to the work for the third time here, competing with his younger self on RCA and DG. Both of those recordings were powerful, elegant, elegiac, and witty, capturing the shifting moods of a mercurial work.
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