Chandos’s previous Prokofiev series, recorded in the 80s with Neëme Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is still probably the most recommendable complete cycle available. Chandos now seem to feel the need to start again, the reason possibly being that they are now using ‘authentically’ all-Russian forces. Whatever the company’s motivation (or if indeed it is to be a complete cycle), the results are impressively powerful, and the coupling stimulating and generous.
This concerto includes Prokofiev's Classical Symphony No.1 and Tchaikovsky's piano concerto No.1 featuring Evgeny Kissin. Karajan is in very good mood despite the pain in his back that kept him leaning back (instead of his customary forward position) in the special supporting device prepared for him in the conductor's podium.
In a century that seemed to turn it's back on the aspirations of 19th century composers, some musicians kept the Romantic tradition of the composer/virtuoso alive well into the 20th century. Perhaps the most important and forward thinking 20th century virtuoso pianist and composer was Serge Prokofiev. Unlike his fellow Russian, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev created a significant body of virtuoso pieces to the piano literature, which also reflected his modernist sensibilities. Among the strongest of these works are the five piano concertos.