Notes and Editorial Reviews
Chopin is obviously very close to Demidenko's heart. Everything this Russian pianist plays is done with such glistening fingertip delicacy and grace that my immediate reaction was just to put down my score and bask in the poetry of both these youthful concertos, which Incidentally are offered in order of composition, that is, with the so-called No. 2 in F minor coming first.
On subsequent hearings with score and Beckmesser-slate in hand, I enjoyed Demidenko most in the timeless dream-world he so magically recreates in both slow movements, each a moonlit reverie inspired by young love. Nor does he fail to respond to the central upsurge of passion in both. To the Polish dance-inspired finales he brings scintillating fingerwork
of pin-point clarity. But in the E minor Concerto I questioned his slower tempo for the second subject, and some overobtrusive rubato within it, both ever so slightly militating against the music's natural vitality and joie de vivre. Even in the earlier work's finale I could have done without one or two untoward ritenutos.
In squeezing the last ounce of romance from both opening movements Demidenko again favours great freedom of pulse, to an extent which although always eloquently expressive might be thought less than advantageous to the music's rhythmic virility, its continuity and ongoing momentum. I noted a temptation to wilt at phraseends instead of carrying through to the climactic point—for instance, in that siren° crescendo leading up to afortissimo top C in the first movement of the F minor Concerto (track 1, 61 0-61 3"). The orchestra always sympathetically tunes in to him. Their tone emerges mellow, though of less than five-star vibrancy and sharpness of focus. The keyboard is very faithfully reproduced—even permitting a barely audible phrase-end in the earlier slow movement (track 2, 4'22") and a touch of steel at climaxes in the E minor Concerto's Allegro maestoso.
-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [11/1993]
reviewing the original release of this title, Hyperion 66647
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