Mikhail Pletnev / Mstislav Rostropovich

Prokofiev 3; Rachmaninov 3

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Apparently, the idea behind Pletnev's interpretation was to give Prokofiev and Rachmaninov's third piano concertos a complete makeover, to turn Prokofiev into a sentimentalist and Rachmaninov into a punk, to play Prokofiev with plenty of pedal and a blended tone and Rachmaninov with a coolness that borders on emotional frigidity. Whatever merit the idea had, Pletnev is not the pianist to realize it. His touch is too detached and his tone to sharp to pull off long legato lines; his slight, more-than-adequate technique isn't up to either work's demands; and his heavy pedaling obscures his lower register. It's a wonder why the big-hearted Rostropovich went along with Pletnev's interpretation, but perhaps the Russian National, unable to follow Rostropovich's questionable baton, was following its usual conductor at the piano. DG's sound is strangely covered, lacking its usual brilliance.

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