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Denis Matsuev can be electrifying, as parts of the present disc prove. But this release, as a whole, is frustrating. The Rachmaninov offers one of the finest performances of the first movement available: remarkable detail, superbly sculpted, technically magisterial. It is the central movement where things come unstuck, too fast, too insubstantial, and Matsuev over-projects. One wonders if it was Gergiev who pressed forwards needlessly. The finale balances the extremes offered so far, with unsmiling interactions against a later sense of rightness.

The Prokofiev is this disc’s saviour. There is a reason we don’t hear this concerto much: its technical difficulty is summarised in the huge cadenza, brilliantly dispatched. The piece needs a superpianist; this powerful but lyrical performance dwarfs that of the Rachmaninov. Five-star Prokofiev.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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