Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Outstanding new disc of 20th Century piano concertos

From January 28, 2011:


Following a well-reviewed debut CD of meaty Russian music for solo piano, Anna Vinnitskaya returns with a very strong concerto disc on the Naive label. The Prokofiev 2nd Piano Concerto has had its share of fine versions on disc; Martha Argerich, and Horacio Gutierrez stand out for me. The new performance of this concerto master-work is not at all out of place in that company. And in the Ravel, a special favourite of mine, Vinnitskaya is right up there with Argerich, and even Michelangeli.

Reading Vinnitskaya's reviews from her major competition triumphs beginning in 2007 to her recent concerts and recordings, it wasn't surprising to hear such accomplished playing, with the widest range of power and delicacy. I was also impressed, though, with the orchestral accompaniment of Gilbert Varga and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestrer Berlin, especially in the Prokofiev; and with the sound provided by the Naive producers and engineers. While the real focus of the Prokofiev work is in the piano part, the Ravel Concerto is as much about the virtuosity of the orchestra as that of the pianist. Though Varga lets the energy falter just a bit in the middle of Ravel's brilliant first movement, this is a fine performance overall, with excellent playing from both individual instruments and the whole orchestra.

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