This is the first recording in Super Audio sound of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44, a work that has everything the first one does except for a tune that leaves you humming. Russia has never been known for audiophile recordings, but the team hired by St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre delivers here, putting Denis Matsuev front and center where he belongs and giving Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra space to spread out in the background. It's an awesome technical use of the space, and it communicates the essence of what Matsuev is: a blood-and-guts-and-thunder pianist of the old school, when pianists had to be a bit larger than life. AreRead more there subtler performances of these concertos? Sure. Are there those in which the melodies of the Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23, sing a bit more passionately? Yes, most definitely. But are there others in which the intricacies of the Piano Concerto No. 2, in Tchaikovsky's own version, are so thoroughly nailed to the wall? Not many, and the sheer power in the first concerto has been matched only by the greats of the past. There's nothing exactly groundbreaking here, but for a Tchaikovsky concertos recording that will shake the walls, this is a good pick.
– James Manheim, All Music Guide
"Few pianists would seem to be more adept at the sometimes quite un-pianistic writing that the 34-year-old non-pianist Tchaikovsky would create, pouring his heart into the work only to have it shot down by the original dedicatee, the oft-times thuggish Nicolai Rubinstein, who called it 'worthless and unplayable.' … Matsuev of course doesn’t care about any of the history, only what he can do with the piece, and he is a whiz here. … Tchaikovsky preferred the Second Concerto and always thought it superior in every way to his original effort. Six years after his first attempts, at age forty and with a number of significant accomplishments under his belt, he produced this longer and more substantial work…. [I]t is a pianist with great perspicacity and deep understanding of the idiom needed to navigate the complex chamber-like, balletic, and virtuosic aspects of the music. Though the work is often ignored, in many places it is making a comeback, and it is fully worthy of much more attention than some pretty unsubstantial romantic concertos are currently enjoying. Matsuev makes a great case for the concerto, perhaps the best since Gary Graffman.... The pianist certainly has the goods in this music." – Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition Read less
Concerto for Piano no 2 in G major, Op. 44by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Performer:
Denis Matsuev (Piano)
St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1879-1880; Russia