This new Rachmaninoff 3 and Arte Nova's Tchaikovsky 2 & 3 with the same
orchestra and conductor (also reviewed, but summarily) are different as chalk
from cheese. There are two important differences - both recordings were made
a few months apart in the same Moscow studio, but with different engineers,
and Andrei Pisarev is a quite marvellous pianist.
Born in 1962, he won important competitions in Moscow (Rachmaninoff) and
Salzburg (Mozart). The latter may give a clue to his unusual sensibility.
His technical command can be taken for granted. If you don't know the
Rachmaninoff Chopin Variations Op 22 (1903, based on the C minor Prelude
which every amateur pianist plays) do select it first, instead of treating
them as a fill-up. It is a major work lasting 27 mins, unaccountably neglected,
included by Rachmaninoff in each of his 1909 recitals in America, and Pisarev
makes as good a case for it as I have heard.
There are flights of fancy and subtle rubato phrasing in both variations
and concerto, reminiscent of Rachmaninoff's own. The rapport with conductor
and orchestra is excellent - you can sense them listening and reacting to
each other. Balance is ideal and recorded sound of piano and orchestra very
beautiful. This is a real discovery, an auspicious release, which raises
hope that Pisarev's agent might consider booking concert appearances for
him in Britain.
Peter Grahame Woolf