Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev – Piano Concertos – Behzod Abduraimov, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Juraj Valcuha (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:04:17 minutes | 1,14 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | @ Decca
Recorded: July 10-12, 2013 at the Auditorium RAI “A. Toscanini” in Torino, Italy.
Completed in 1921 in a rural summer retreat at Étretat on the coast of Normandy, the Third Piano Concerto nevertheless contains not a hint of anything that could be called pastoral. It is one of those works that seem to reflect not the actual surroundings of the moment, but a quite other environment that the composer is hankering after. The atmosphere it breathes is of a world that Prokofiev had left only temporarily: the world of musical centres, busy concert life, excitement, exuberant virtuosity, and applause.
The First Piano Concerto is one of the most popular of all Tchaikovsky’s works, to the extent that it has completely eclipsed the other two concertos for piano. A skillful mixture of ardour and melancholy, of simple Ukrainian folk tunes and brilliant passage work, of wistful melodies and waves of orchestral sound worthy of a symphony. One might criticize it for an excess of grandiloquence, but one cannot deny its success in at least two respects: the variety of its inspiration and the verve of the piano part, which guarantees an instant triumph to any virtuoso capable of playing it.
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. These recordings with Juraj Valcuha and the RAI National Symphony Orchestra are presumably typical of the successful interactions Abduraimov has had, and this exciting album preserves what is surely a remarkable period in this active virtuoso’s career. For a brief interlude between the concertos, Abduraimov plays Earl Wild’s flashy transcription of the Dance of the Four Swans from Swan Lake, to give a solo demonstration of his own prestidigitation. But there is more than enough dazzling fingerwork in the concertos to convince anyone that Abduraimov has the skills to give them bravura performances, anytime and anywhere. –Review by Blair Sanderson
Sergey Prokofiev (1891–1953)
Piano Concerto No.3 in C major, op.26
1. 1. Andante – Allegro 09:25
2. 2. Tema con variazione 09:09
3. 3. Allegro ma non troppo 09:56
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
4. Dance Of The Four Swans – Pas de quatre 01:35
Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat major, op.23
5. 1. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito 20:37
6. 2. Andantino semplice – Prestissimo – Tempo I 06:37
7. 3. Allegro con fuoco 07:03
Behzod Abduraimov, piano
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
Juraj Valcuha, conductor