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Chopin: Piano Concertos / Primakov, Mann, Odense SO


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9278   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vassily Primakov
Conductor:  Paul Mann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A highly distinctive 2004 Chopin recital on the Tavros label brought the young Russian-born, Juilliard-trained pianist Vassily Primakov to my attention. His innate poetic sensibility, superbly gauged articulation, and beautifully modulated sonority breathe fresh life and gentle fluidity into both Chopin concertos, abetted by equally sensitive and cultivated orchestral playing under Paul Mann's leadership. Indeed, the conductor/soloist synchronicity reveals few if any detectable loose ends of phrasing and rubato. To be sure, these intimately scaled performances don't offer Rubinstein's hearty élan, Argerich's volatile dynamic surges, nor Arrau's operatic projection, particularly in the slow movements. Yet the warm, clearly balanced Read more engineering falls more agreeably on the ear in comparison to the overly resonant Lang Lang/Mehta and Argerich/Dutoit editions. Collectors seeking both Chopin concertos on one disc surely will enjoy this release over many repeated hearings, and that translates into a solid recommendation.

--Jed Distler, Classicstoday.com

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"This is a great Chopin pianist. Primakov's timing is perfect: he knows exactly how long to hold a note before going on to the next. His exquisite hesitations are almost sexual." -- American Record Guide

"One of the great Chopin recordings of recent times. Primakov's interpretations of the two Chopin piano concertos combine grace and fire in the service of unflagging intensity. These are performances of extraordinary power and beauty..." -- MusicWeb International

"Primakov's empathy with Chopin's spirit could hardly be more complete... He is beautifully partnered, too, by Paul Mann and the Odense Symphony Orchestra who are entirely at one with their free and romantic soloist." -- Gramophone

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The young Russian/American virtuoso, Vassily Primakov, has created an impressive buzz in the classical music world. Of a recent Lincoln Center performance, critic Jeremy Eichler in The New York Times wrote that Primakov "gave a fiery performance of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, with bold, expressive phrasing and dramatic commitment that brought the audience to its feet."

The International Record Review heaped praise on his Beethoven CD ( Bridge 9251), writing of the "thoughtful performances from a young musician who is more than a virtuoso." Winner of the Young Concert Artists Competition, Primakov combines deeply personal playing, brilliant technical command, and a seductive tonal palette reminiscent of an earlier era of virtuosi.

Primakov's new account of both of the Chopin Concertos was recorded in May of 2008 with the Odense Symphony Orchestra directed by British conductor Paul Mann. Bridge Records is pleased to announce that Vassily Primakov has been signed to make a series of new recordings including upcoming recordings of Chopin Mazurkas; a Tchaikovsky disc with the Sonata, Op. 37, and The Seasons, Op. 37A, and a Mozart Concerto disc with the Concerto in B-flat Major, K. 595; and the Concerto in C Minor, K. 491, with the Odense Symphony Orchestra conducted by Scott Yoo. This new Chopin disc presents Primakov's first concerto recordings.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vassily Primakov (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Mann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vassily Primakov (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Mann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odense Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Poland 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superior Chopin from a Young Master December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "Vassily Primakov's performance of Chopin's Piano Concertos is the most interesting version of this coupling since Krystian Zimerman's controversial 1990s recording (Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2).

Chopin's concertos are tough nuts to crack. They require a good deal of technique to pull off, yet they are not flashy in the way that, say, Liszt's Concertos are. There is the question of balancing the orchestra and piano, without getting in each others' way - a task made difficult by Chopin's orchestration. Then there are the performance issues which have been the test of Chopin players since the 19th Century. Primakov uses a good deal more Rubato than one usually hears these days, not just in the right hand as Chopin instructed but also in overall tempo. Remarkably, the structure of each movement manages to cohere. Another hazard in Chopin is the playing of fioritura, in that it can come across as meaningless passagework in some hands. But Primakov gives each note its own meaning - partly by sensitively balanced dynamics. Despite these felicities, Primakov never draws attention away from the music and his performance is in no way eccentric.

Primakov sensibly plays these works in chronological order - in other words, he plays No. 2 first, since it was composed before No. 1. The Odense [Denmark] Symphony Orchestra under Paul Mann provides an excellent accompaniment. By the way, unlike Arthur Rubinstein's various recordings, both concertos are offered here without cuts.

The recorded sound is excellent. The piano is in perfect balance with the orchestra, and the various sections of the orchestra are placed in natural perspective. "
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