Mikhail Voskresensky / Leonid Nikolaev / Pavel Slobodkin Centre Orchestra

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 13, 19, 23

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Russian pianist Mikhail Voskresensky's career began in earnest at the first Van Cliburn competition in 1962 and has prospered ever since, surviving cataclysmic cultural and political change. A professor at the Moscow Conservatory, he does not lack for technique, and he has released confident, attractive performances of music by the late Russian Romantics. This disc of Mozart piano concertos offers live performances with Leonid Nikolaev conducting the Pavel Slobodkin Centre Orchestra; you get a good stretch of enthusiastic applause at the end of each concerto for your money. They are strictly old-school, with a modern grand and a good-sized orchestra, albeit one denoted a chamber orchestra. They're uniformly competent, with clean passagework, lively differentiation between soloist and orchestra, singing melodic lines, and moreover better-than-average engineering in a live setting. There's also little to set them apart from the host of other recordings of these concertos that grace store shelves and download listings, and the nostalgic quality that really makes the Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488, shine is in short supply. Bach is often held to be the short arrow in the Russians' quiver, but really their idiosyncratic Bach recordings have an unabashed subjectivity that fills a need. Often it is Mozart instead who frustrates the Russian soul. This said, there's nothing to fault here for admirers of the musicians involved. Brief notes are in Russian and English.

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