Patrik Jablonski / Wojciech Rajski

Khachaturian, Shostakovich, Addinsell: Concertos

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Aram Khachaturian, Dmitry Shostakovich, and Richard Addinsell were all born within three years of each other and, coincidentally, died within three years of each other. Yet their respective piano concertos are quite individual and have met with varying degrees of popularity. The Khachaturian concerto, for example, is not as strong of a composition as either of the concertos Shostakovich wrote, but it is certainly worthy of notice and can be quite exciting given the right performance. His treatment of the instrument is more percussive, and the interplay between soloist and orchestra is not as refined as Shostakovich. Pianist Patrik Jablonski brings everything he can to its performance and succeeds in making this a captivating recording of the work. He is forceful and aggressive without it seeming like he's banging on the piano in the more percussive sections; his playing in the second movement is sensitive and soulful. Jablonski's performance of the more popular Shostakovich, by contrast, is less convincing, perhaps because there are so many more recordings to compare it to. The first movement actually lacks a bit of rhythmicity and energy and is slower than listeners may be used to. Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto, which gained its original popularity in a movie now long forgotten, is perhaps the most successful performance on the album. Here again, Jablonski's playing goes back to taking risks and playing with more vigor, as he did in the Khachaturian. Maybe he's just one of those performers who strengths rest more in showcasing lesser-known concertos; buy this album for the Khachaturian and Addinsell, but stick with Bronfman for the Shostakovich.

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