A mood of high Romanticism permeates this 2011 release on Transart Live, because the Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor by Frédéric Chopin are among the most characteristic works of that period, and Laure Favre-Kahn delivers them with expressive fidelity. Accompanied Grzegorz Nowak and the Orchestre de Bretagne, she plays with tremendous energy and flair, and conveys the full emotional range of these works with a thorough understanding of the music and a sweeping command of her instrument. The Tchaikovsky is certainly a concerto on the grand scale, and she gives it a bigger-than-life interpretation that sorts well with its power and expansiveness. Chopin's concerto is more reflective of the early phase of Romanticism, and while it really shouldn't be played like a Mozart concerto, enough of the Classical influence comes through Favre-Kahn's poetic and tasteful playing. In both concertos, Nowak keeps the orchestra in a secondary role, though the playing in the Tchaikovsky is rather brilliant and quite exciting in the Allegros. However, Chopin's modest orchestral writing offers little room for the ensemble to stretch out, so that concerto is carried almost exclusively by Havre-Kahn. The live recordings from 2006 are well-focused and sonorous, and the audience is unobtrusive during the performances.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23|
|Piano Concerto no. 2 in F minor, Op. 21|