Vassily Primakov / Paul Mann / Odense Symphony Orchestra

Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

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Chopin's two piano concertos, both early works, were primarily written as a vehicle for the young composer to demonstrate his own talents both pianistically and compositionally while touring and making a name for himself. Because of this, and in part due to his lack of experience writing for the medium, the orchestral accompaniments are notoriously bland and unsophisticated compared to the solo part. This recording featuring pianist Vassily Primakov and the Odense Symphony Orchestra handles this mismatch of forces by presenting listeners with a well-polished, rich orchestral backdrop that successfully stays fully clear of the piano's path. When it comes to Primakov's playing, this is exceptionally advantageous for listeners. Primakov's interpretation of Chopin is extraordinarily intimate and personal. His sense of pacing keeps listeners consistently attentive and on the edge of their seats. He has at his disposal an impressive arsenal of tone colors, dynamic nuance, and control of voicing. His ample technique allows him to focus on making long, lugubrious lines and nearly vocal melodies. While every track on this album is rewarding, Primakov's greatest strength is the poeticism he brings to the middle movements of both concertos. Whether as a first recording of these concertos or an addition to an existing collection, this album is sure to please.

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