Notes and Editorial Reviews
DANIIL TRIFONOV: The Carnegie Recital
Daniil Trifonov (pn)
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1728 (78:48) Live: Carnegie Hall, New York 2/5/2013
Piano Sonata in b.
Piano Sonata No. 2.
Even though he had already made a considerable splash with victories at the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein Competitions in 2011, Daniil Trifonov was barely old enough for a legal champagne celebration following his 2013 Carnegie debut, a concert documented on this disc. Another super-virtuoso whiz kid? Well, there’s no denying either his virtuosity or his endurance. Not many pianists would include
the Liszt Sonata and the full run of Chopin Preludes on the same program, much less one opening with the Scriabin Second—and the technique is nearly flawless from first to last. But there’s nothing callow in the playing. Fresh, spontaneous, even youthful—yes; but it would be hard to find evidence of immaturity.
What strikes me most about this recital is its expressive range. From the opening measures of the Scriabin, with their prismatic teasing of dynamics and rhythm, you know that you’re in the hands of someone who refuses to announce a clear interpretive itinerary at the start. Rather, he gives us superbly eventful playing, full of twists and turns, always ready to cast an unexpected light on a detail, to give some new balance to the contrapuntal lines, or to provide an unexpected dash of color. I don’t mean to suggest that the playing is willful, much less self-aggrandizing: Trifonov is a subtle artist, and he’s more interested in gentle surprises than in whiplash shocks. But his readings certainly are highly personal.
Certainly, his Liszt is liable to throw you off balance. For the opening three and a half minutes, up through the first statement of the
theme (through which he pushes feverishly), he seems to promise us an angular, biting, Modernist interpretive spin—an unrelenting, even cruel, reading that stresses momentum rather than harmony, brittleness rather than sensuality. Yet it doesn’t work out that way: In the end, this performance is notable as much for its gentle inwardness as for its rancor, as much for its generous splashes of pre-Impressionist color as for its moments of granitic solidity (try the return of the
theme at mm. 297 ff.), as much for its delicacy of utterance (try the breathtakingly peaceful ending) as for its volcanic eruptions.
Of course, such eventfulness necessarily comes at the expense of formal rigor, and I suspect that some listeners prefer the sonata with a bit more unity. Still, I found the improvisatory spirit captivating from first to last—and I found the Chopin (which, of course, has more built-in variety to begin with) even better. On the whole, despite moments that will knock you out (listen to No. 22), it’s a slightly soft-spoken account. Highlights? I could, I suppose, single out the supple, surprisingly old-fashioned charm of the First Prelude, the unbuttoned lift of the Third, the terrifyingly controlled fury of the 12th, the velvet tone on No. 13 (especially on the B section). But the fact is that what we get here is a rare performance
highlights, one in which every prelude is given a chance to speak in its own voice. The Scriabin is just as remarkable, boasting a luminous fluidity that takes your breath away. The choice of Medtner as an encore (at the concert, apparently, he also played Bach-Rachmaninoff and Agosti’s arrangement of the “Danse infernale” from
) is but another reminder that he’s not a conventional contest-winner. Fine sound, too. Urgently recommended.
FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
Works on This Recording
Piano Sonata No.2 In G Sharp Minor, Op.19 "Sonata Fantasy": 1. Andante
Piano Sonata No.2 In G Sharp Minor, Op.19 "Sonata Fantasy": 2. Presto
Piano Sonata In B Minor, S.178: Lento assai - Allegro energico
Piano Sonata In B Minor, S.178: Andante sostenuto -
Piano Sonata In B Minor, S.178: Allegro energico - Andante sostenuto - Lento assai
24 Préludes, Op.28: 1. In C Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 2. In A Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 3. In G Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 4. In E Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 5. In D Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 6. In B Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 7. In A Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 8. In F Sharp Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 9. In E Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 10. In C Sharp Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 11. In B Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 12. In G Sharp Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 13. In F Sharp Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 14. In E Flat Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 15. In D Flat Major ("Raindrop")
24 Préludes, Op.28: 16. In B Flat Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 17. In A Flat Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 18. In F Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 19. In E Flat Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 20. In C Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 21. In B Flat Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 22. In G Minor
24 Préludes, Op.28: 23. In F Major
24 Préludes, Op.28: 24. In D Minor
Four Fairy Tales (Skazki), Op.26: No.2 In E Flat Major - Molto Vivace
Be the first to review this title