Simon Trpceski / Vasily Petrenko / Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3

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The chief draw on this release by Simon Trpceski is the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat major, Op. 10, composed while Sergey Prokofiev was still a student in St. Petersburg. Prokofiev thought highly enough of the work to premiere it in Moscow himself, and indeed it's a student work of the best kind, brash and overflowing with confidence. Consider and sample the broad opening and, after about a minute, the angular music, a kind of second theme, seems as though it comes from an entirely different composition and dares you to imagine how it can be integrated with the opening. Prokofiev goes on to do just that, of course, and it was music like this that antagonized conservative listeners and, in an age when such antagonism was box office gold, did much to propel Prokofiev's early career. In its broader outlines the work is not so dissimilar to the better-known Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26, one of the peaks of Prokofiev's neoclassic output. The performances by Trpceski and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko are very strong, capturing the exuberance of the Piano Concerto No. 1 and delivering a crowd-pleasing, sparkling Third with no hint of the mordant quality many attach to the work. The Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34bis, is a fine, little-known entr-acte. A crowd-pleasing Prokofiev release.

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