One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op.16 (1913, reconstructed 1923) [31.56]
Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 (1874/75) [35.05]
Beatrice Rana (piano)
Orchestra dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Sir Antonio Pappano
rec. July 2015, Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome
WARNER CLASSICS 2564 600909 [67.05]

In 2013 Italian Beatrice Rana received the silver medal and audience award at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She had played both Prokofiev’s Second and Beethoven’s Third Piano Concertos. There's already a Rana album on Harmonia Mundi consisting of Bartók Out of Doors, Ravel Gaspard de la nuit and Schumann Symphonic Études and an album for ATMA Classique of Chopin Préludes, and Scriabin Sonata No. 2. Recorded in Rome for Warner this collaboration with Sir Antonio Pappano marks her first concerto release.

Prokofiev was still a student at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory when he wrote his Second Piano Concerto which is scored for large orchestra. At the Conservatory he had gained a reputation as a radical with his often unremitting rhythms and liberal use of chromatic and dissonant writing. When Prokofiev introduced his Second Piano Concerto at Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg in 1913 the audience reaction was negative attracting lots of hissing with a large number of people leaving the hall. During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution the score was thought destroyed so in 1923 the exiled Prokofiev reconstructed the entire thing using a manuscript of a two-piano reduction his mother had brought out of Russia. Twice as long as the First Piano Concerto the immense technical demands of the Second Concerto are some of the most challenging in the repertoire, on the margins of what it is possible to play. Rana is very much at home with the exacting and tempestuous nature of Prokofiev’s writing characteristics as she draws the listener into its contrasting moods with captivating engagement. Its undertow of mystery and foreboding as heard in the opening movement is striking. The Scherzo whirls vigorously along and is almost motoric; a precursor to the sound-world of French composers Poulenc and Françaix. There are wide mood-swings in the unsettling Intermezzo with its suggestion of Ragtime and the energetic and enigmatic Finale is full of dramatic thrills and spills. From the first note to the last Rana’s characterful performance is full of vitality and exuberance yet maintaining total control. Of the alternative recordings of the Prokofiev I admire I would cite the account played by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda. Recorded in 2013 at Salford, Bavouzet is in remarkable form playing with burning commitment. The account forms part of his complete set of the five piano concertos on Chandos. Another excellent recording is the 2014 Berlin account played by Kirill Gerstein and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under James Gaffigan on Myrios Classics. Certainly Beatrice Rana’s high quality performance can hold its own with any of the above accounts.

It seems preposterous today to think that one of the greatest works in classical music repertoire Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto was denounced by pianist Nikolai Rubinstein who was engaged to introduce the work. Completed and published in 1875 Tchaikovsky dedicated it to pianist Hans von Bülow who believed in the work and who gave the première in Boston, United States the same year. Decisive and well shaped Rana’s thrilling playing of the opening movement feels totally attuned to Tchaikovsky’s world and combines her dramatic power with the grandeur of the writing. In the lyrical Andantino semplice Rana and the solo instruments of the orchestra play marvellously with all the intimacy of chamber musicians. She is thrilling and rather audacious in the Finale — full of drama with marvellous rhythmic impetus together with that rarely achieved poetic quality contained only in the finest accounts. Rana’s performance of the Tchaikovsky is compelling and highly rewarding; nevertheless it is hard to look elsewhere than the distinguished 1994 account from Martha Argerich and the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado at the Philharmonie, Berlin (Deutsche Grammophon). In addition Argerich recorded another exceptional account live in 1980 in Munich with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Kirill Kondrashin on Philips.

Under Sir Antonio Pappano the excellent Orchestra dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is on top form, conveying a vivid sense of urgency. Rana made this exciting recording in 2015 at Sala Santa Cecilia, Rome which seats nearly 3,000 people and has an excellent studio acoustic. For Warner the sound team provide clarity and excellent balance between piano and orchestra. Included in the booklet is an eminently readable essay by Jed Distler.

The combination of the enduringly popular concerto from Tchaikovsky and the lesser known but mightily impressive Prokofiev makes this a really appealing coupling. A name that we are certainly going to hear a lot more about in the future, Beatrice Rana is in quite stunning form.

Michael Cookson

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger