Daniil Trifonov's 2013 recital at Carnegie Hall is a clear demonstration of what this pianist does well, in works well-suited to his talents. Trifonov has a reputation for his dazzling technique, which he has shown to best advantage in performances of Romantic repertoire, and his live readings of Alexander Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor, "Sonata-Fantasy," Franz Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor, and Frédèric Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op. 28, offer a well-rounded impression of his extraordinary abilities. The Scriabin opener gives Trifonov an opportunity to display his amazingly quick prestidigitation in the second movement, and several of Chopin's preludes are whipped off with a velocity that impresses, even while being unnecessarily showy. But Trifonov has a much greater depth than his fireworks suggest, and his Scriabin and Chopin have moments of lucid reflection that reveal Trifonov's thoughtful, expressive side. Yet he seems most at home in Liszt's monumental sonata, with its brooding passages, wistful reveries, and dynamic surges that reveal the volatile and poetic temperaments to which he feels most attuned. Trifonov is decidedly a virtuoso in the Lisztian mold, so it would behoove him to make his next recital album an all-Liszt program, though this exceptional performance of the Sonata in B minor will have to satisfy his fans until then.
Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital Review
by Blair Sanderson