One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Anderson Choral music


colourful and intriguing


Artyomov
Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble


one of Berlioz greatest works


Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances


An attractive Debussy package


immaculate Baiba Skride


eloquent Cello Concerto


tension-filled work


well crafted and intense


Laangaard
another entertaining volume


reeking of cordite


Pappano with a strong cast


imaginatively constructed quartets


the air from another planet


vibrantly sung


NOT a budget performance


very attractive and interesting


finesse and stylistic assurance

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 (1875/1889) [35:08]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 (1868) [29:12]
Denis Kozhukhin (piano)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Vassily Sinaisky
rec. October 2015, Funkhaus Nalepastrasse Berlin
PENTATONE PTC5186566 SACD [64:37]

There are no prizes here for novelty of repertoire, though naturally the Schumann-Grieg was the more popular coupling in LP days due to the Tchaikovsky’s girth. Denis Kozhuknin is the soloist, still not yet 30, though no longer in the first flush of his 2010 triumph at the Queen Elisabeth Competition win in Brussels in 2010. He is partnered by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Vassily Sinaisky.

Kozhukhin has the kind of technical apparatus that makes pretty light work of the Grieg’s demands. His chording is crisp and tight and his phrasing thoughtful and well-shaped. He plays the cadenza in the first movement with control, even if Sinaisky is inclined to overindulge the orchestra in the final page of this movement. The pliant slow movement reveals nicely weighted playing but as the concerto goes on an uneasy realisation regarding the balancing emerges - which is that listening to this SACD on conventional equipment leads to a recession of the string choirs. The piano, fortunately, is forwardly balanced enough to allow passagework to be heard in the finale often submerged – but it does come at a cost. Then again there is also something lumpy and unsatisfactory about the peroration; where it should exult, it sounds instead a little stiff.

Perhaps it’s the nature of the SACD sound that means that the piano is dangerously front-and-centre in the Tchaikovsky. The opening is largely coach-and-horses – the piano is the coach – whereas the exultant orchestral theme should sweep things along. Fortunately, the percussion is audible in the sonic sound stage but it doesn’t really compensate for a skewed perspective. Again I’d add the corollary that it may sound much better and more appropriately balanced listening the SACD way. The brass is authoritative and there is much orchestral excellence to be encountered – this is no routine run-through – and the highlight is probably the soloist’s alternately poetic and playful jousting in the slow movement where the orchestral drone effect is well conveyed. There’s no question that Kozhukhin is a refined and thoughtful musician for whom testosterone-pumped grandstanding is of little interest in this work.

The fact remains, however, that there is ultimately a similar lack of electricity in this performance too and in a saturated market-place competition is simply too intense for this release.

Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: Michael Cookson

 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 50,400 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger