Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Ravel: Concerto for the Left Hand

Andrei Gavrilov / Simon Rattle

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Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Ravel: Concerto for the Left Hand Review

by James Manheim

Those puzzled by the extremely youthful photos on the graphics of this Warner Classics release are on the right track: although Warner has done little in the way of reissues, this is one. It was originally recorded in 1977, when Simon Rattle was 22, and it seems to have been reissued in conjunction with Rattle's ascent to the music directorship of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2017; Rattle, not piano soloist Andrei Gavrilov, is pictured in the main graphics. The extremely shaggy photo of the two on the back cover of the CD version is priceless, but the fact is that this album can stand with state-of-the-art versions of the two main concertos, which are separated by solo piano pieces that give Gavrilov the chance to display the quietly hypnotic sound he was so effective with. The wiry edginess of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat major, Op. 10, with the piano entrance that initially seems to inhabit an entirely different world from the tutti, comes through well in the hands of this pair, and Gavrilov shifts gears well for the monumental sound of Ravel's Concerto for the left hand. The 1977 sound, recorded at Abbey Road studios, is impressive indeed. Much more than a Rattle souvenir item, this is a major document in the early careers of two musicians of great interest.

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