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This live concert, caught right at the end of Gergiev’s tenure with the LSO, finds the orchestra on top form in a blazing performance of the Bartók that puts one in mind of Boulez’s energy-drenched performances of the 1980s; The Firebird finds Gergiev and his players painting in the finest colours.

The best performance, though, is the Bartók Concerto. It is up against fearsome competition (Anda, Katchen and Kovacevich to name a few), but it holds its head high. Interestingly, the piece feels more raw than is often the case, with the odd rough edge in the orchestra enhancing this impression. Bronfman never bangs, and the piano/tutti interactions are beautifully managed. The central Adagio religioso finds the LSO strings in shining form; the nocturnal suspense here is magnificent. Bronfman’s technique is impeccable, his variety of touch a joy. This performance acts as a splendid appendix to Bronfman’s lovely Sony recording (LAPO/Salonen).

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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