The dynamic young Russian pianist Vassily Primakov is attracting a lot of attention. He has recorded several CDs of diversified repertoire for the Bridge label: Chopin (concertos and mazurkas), Tchaikowsky, Dvo?ák (concerto), Brahms, Scriabin, and Schumann. A student of Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, he has won numerous prizes and awards, including a debut recital at Alice Tully Hall, aRead more silver medal in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and the 2002 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He is just 30 years old, and his future gleams brightly.
Primakov reveals both dynamism and poeticism in his performances of the Schubert dances. He avoids exaggerations in rubato, but applies subtle rhythmic nuances that enhance the phrasing. Rather than playing groups of dances as they appear in the published scores, he has made his own compilations, choosing from the different sets and organizing them into suites. (Also included are two other suites compiled by Primakov’s Russian teacher, Vera Gornostoeva: 13 Ländler and 12 waltzes.) Whether from early opuses or late, both his choices and those of his teacher in assembling the groups are artistically convincing, offering variety in keys, tempos, and character within a logical order. Primakov plays them with zestful spirit and obvious affection.
The impromptus (the complete D 899 and the first two of D 935), befitting their larger scale and more intense expression, benefit enormously from Primakov’s extraordinary control of keyboard sound, as well as his dramatic treatment of the content, especially in the F-Minor Impromptu. The contrast between the dramatic opening of the F-Minor section and the gently pulsating and shimmering second section that follows, as well as the haunting dialogue between treble and bass melodies, are rendered most effectively. The C-Minor Impromptu is also quite magnificent, an emotional mini-drama that hints at a narrative. I cannot hear the E?-Impromptu (No. 2 of D 899) without being reminded of Schnabel, whose unbelievably velvety, purling sound remains forever in my ear (and set a benchmark for my own playing). Primakov’s sound is earthier, but his treatment of the dynamics always provides interest. The heavenly G?-Impromptu (No. 3) is exactly that in Primakov’s reading—heavenly, the voicing and the sustained feeling of repose perfectly rendered. The only thing missing from this CD are the third and fourth impromptus of D 935. Recorded in Odense, Denmark, the engineering has captured Primakov’s playing, and the beautiful sound of his Hamburg Steinway, most vividly.
This release adds to the outstanding Schubert performances released recently: Imogen Cooper in her live performances from the Southbank Centre in London, and the Viennese pianist Charlotte Baumgartner (reviewed in the present issue). A feast for Schubert lovers!
Impromptu No. 1 in F minor ? Allegro moderato, D. 935, Op. 142, No. 1
13 Ländler -Suite compiled by Vera Gornostaeva
Impromptu No. 1 in C minor - Allegro moderato, D. 899, Op. 90, No. 1
Impromptu No. 2 in E flat Major - Allegro, D. 899, Op. 90, No. 2
Impromptu No. 3 in G flat Major - Andante, D. 899, Op. 90, No. 3
Impromptu No. 4 in A flat Major - Allegretto, D. 899, Op. 90, No. 4
12 Waltzes -Suite compiled by Vera Gornostaeva
Impromptu No. 2 in A flat Major - Allegretto, D. 935, Op. 142, No. 2
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Wonderful interpretation of Schubert!August 13, 2013By M G A C. (Kent, WA)See All My Reviews"When I heard this on the radio, one of the Impromptus, I had to order it! Very moving renditions, with great technique and a lot of soul!"Report Abuse