This is exactly the kind of recording that major labels once released as a sure-fire popular hit: a former child prodigy grown into a mature master pianist, accompanied by a grand old man of the podium, leading a world-class orchestra in one of the staples of the repertoire. So it's not surprising that this EMI disc of Evgeny Kissin, Colin Davis, and the London Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto has the feeling of déjà vu all over again. Kissin is indeed a master pianist with a virtuoso technique, sparkling tone, and commanding presence, as Davis is a superlative conductor, and the LSO is a magnificent orchestra. While this is a smoothly polished and wonderfully poised account of the work that reveals its full measure of nobility and grandeur, it adds nothing to what we already know and have heard from dozens of other earlier recordings. For listeners who are already Kissin fans, this disc will be attractive, but everyone else should sample before committing. EMI's sound is warm and deep, but not quite clear enough.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major ("Emperor"), Op. 73|