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Chopin: The Piano Concertos / Demidenko, Kissin, Wit

Chopinc / Kissin / Demidenko / Wpo / Wit
Release Date: 11/16/2010 
Label:  Accentus   Catalog #: 20104  
Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Nikolai DemidenkoEvgeny Kissin
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on Blu-ray

Recorded live at the Filharmonia Narodowa, Warsaw, 26-27 February 2010.

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 97 mins
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9)

R E V I E W:


CHOPIN Piano Concertos: No. 1 in e 1; No. 2 in f. Read more class="SUPER12">2 Mazurka in a, op. 17/4. 1 Etude in c, op. 10/12. 2 Waltz in e, op. posth. 2 1 Nikolai Demidenko, 2 Evgeny Kissin (pn); Antoni Wit, cond; Warsaw PO ACCENTUS 20104 (DVD: 96:54) Live: Warsaw 2/27/2010

I would hate to have been a music critic for a newspaper sitting in the audience at this concert. Newspaper reviewers are allowed only one chance to hear the music and then get their story straight. I’ve watched this video four times, and just am beginning to appreciate what went on at the concert. In sum, it is a tale of two pianists, Nikolai Demidenko and Evgeny Kissin. The former receives a notable reception from the audience, while the latter elicits a roaring standing ovation and rhythmic applause. The two even are a contrast in their appearance: Demidenko with his grey beard and bald spot, the leonine Kissin every inch the romantic idol. Yet, on repeated listening, I find myself drawn at least as much to Demidenko’s performance as to Kissin’s. This video is a superb example of how completely differently one can approach Chopin, with equally satisfying results.

The First Concerto opens with refined playing in the orchestral tutti. Antoni Wit and his Warsaw forces only recently recorded both concertos with Eldar Nebolsin. Demidenko begins introspectively, with a lovely sonority. His romantic hero, as portrayed in the music, is a poet rather than an adventurer. The third subject is full of yearning and pathos. Elegance and passion characterize the subsequent filigree work. The return of the first theme sounds ruminative. When the second subject comes back, it is wistful and tentative. Throughout this movement, the Warsaw first chairs play beautifully, particularly the flute, bassoon, and horn.

Demidenko opens the second movement with a gorgeous, singing bel canto line. It is a love song with plenty of heart. Unlike in the first movement, the piano part now has a slightly naive quality. The solo bassoon plays wonderfully. Here and in the finale, Demidenko handles transitions magically. He performs the last movement very much in the style galant . His playing now is rhythmically subtle; he doesn’t attempt to be a powerhouse. The B section sounds like a mazurka. Demidenko’s left hand produces deftly judged harmonies. His soft playing is superbly virtuosic. As an encore, Demidenko plays a mazurka raptly and ravishingly, almost as a commentary on all that has gone before it.

Kissin first came to prominence in a concert of both Chopin concertos at age 12, conducted by Dmitri Kitaenko. At present, he plays the Second Concerto in the grand manner. His fingers are fascinating to watch, reminding me of tentacles. Kissin treats the first movement rhapsodically, rather freely in tempo. His soft passages are especially luminous. The program annotator for the DVD suggests that Kissin’s tactile connection to the keyboard is almost erotic. I prefer to say that Kissin’s performance possesses an animal quality. In the second movement, Kissin produces lush sonorities with almost heartbreaking phrasing. His playing in the string tremolo section seems tragic, evoking the pain of the lover. Following this outburst, the return of the initial theme sounds subdued. Kissin’s finale is a romp, with plenty of fire. Differences in dynamics are finely judged. The audience erupts on the orchestra’s final chord. For his first encore, Kissin gives us a stunning version of the last of the op. 10 etudes, with an almost supernatural left hand. It perhaps exemplifies the two pianists here that this encore is so virtuosic, while Demidenko’s is reflective. Kissin’s next encore is a somewhat Mendelssohnian treatment of a waltz, like fairy music. Kissin shows an endearingly light touch here.

The sound engineering on the DVD is very good, clear and full if a little monochromatic. Surround sound was unavailable to me. Occasionally the picture is out of sync with the music for a second or two. The director of the video does a satisfying job; nothing essential is overlooked in the camerawork. If you are looking for a CD of both concertos, I would recommend those by Annerose Schmidt, Janne Mertanen, and Janina Fialkowska. For an opportunity to experience two marvelous players in concert, this DVD probably will have great staying power. It is a true privilege to witness Demidenko and Kissin’s artistry up close.

FANFARE: Dave Saemann
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Nikolai Demidenko (Piano)
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Germany 
Mazurkas (4) for Piano, B 77/Op. 17: no 4 in A minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Nikolai Demidenko (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1833; Paris, France 
Concerto for Piano no 2 in F minor, B 43/Op. 21 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Evgeny Kissin (Piano)
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1830; Poland 
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 12 in C minor, B 67 "Revolutionary" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Evgeny Kissin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Waltz for Piano in E minor, B 56 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Evgeny Kissin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 As Wonderful as the Reviewer Says It Is January 17, 2018 By Peter K. (Fort Collins, CO) See All My Reviews "This is a spectacular video of two great pianists playing two great concertos, each with a completely different approach. Don't miss it! Here you need to see the playing to fully appreciate the performances. Personally I like the Demidenko performance for its subtlety and nuances and agree that the understated mazurka encore is of a piece with his approach to the entire evening. Repeated viewing is such a pleasure for appreciating his artistry. Kissin is high-energy and an audience favorite, and for good reason. Fantastic to get both concertos on one DVD." Report Abuse
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