This volume from Praga's critically-acclaimed Richter Edition series features an audiophile SACD remastering of the great Russian pianist playing Tchaikovsky. The program pairs the composer's two most popular scores in performances by two uncontested Russian masters. This recording resurrects of one of Sviatoslav Richter;s rare encounters with one of the finest conductors of the 20th century, Yevgeny Mravinsky. Richter is heard in a fiery 1958 recording of the first Piano Concerto, while Mravinsky is featured in a 1956 recording of the Pathetique symphony. This is an indispensable release for anyone interested in these two legendary artists.
Although the U.S.S.R.'s system of identifying and training musically talented youngsters produced amazingly precocious pianists on a regular basis, Evgeny Kissin stood out from the rest for a talent far surpassing that of the usual Wunderkind. He has become, seemingly without difficulty, one of the finest adult pianists on the world's concert stages…
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.
Fazil Say's dynamic pianism has created quite a buzz, and his version of these two warhorses helps explain why. There's little anyone can add to what Richter, Gilels, Argerich, and others have revealed about the Tchaikovsky, but Say's flawless playing, big technique, and fetching sonorities are welcome. He rises to the big moments, of course, but he's best at conveying the poetry of a score whose proponents too often wallow in bombast…–Dan Davis
Some artists grow into a sort of proprietary relationship with certain pieces of music. If anyone today owns this concerto, it's Martha Argerich. She's recorded it three times, and this latest version seems to sum up an entire lifetime of living with and loving the music. Not only does Argerich simply find more in the notes than almost anyone else, she also does it with a sense of complete spontaneity and naturalness. She's also the most exciting pianist alive, which certainly doesn't hurt in such dazzling music. Claudio Abbado is one of her regular concerto accompanists, and he knows better than to try to take over an Argerich performance. This is her show, and he gives her the kind of support she needs to feel free to work her interpretive magic. – David Hurwitz