I quite like this album: five stars. Does it suit your musical taste? Read on.
Two basic points on the Paganini Rhapsody, with which the album starts:
1) The famous Variation 18 is great. I know this is what at least 70% of potential audiences need to know right off the bat. Yes, it's great. Trifonov does his part -- beautiful pacing and crescendo, coloring of the secondary voice, sure -- but really, this about Philly and Yannick. The orchestra sounds mighty fine, not a weak violin among them. It's not some willfully different, revisionist interpretation, it's heart-on-the-sleeve romanticism at its finest.
2) The whole piece hangs together coherently and dramatically. Some people familiar with Trifonov's pianism might worry if his wild tempo whimsies get the better of him, but that is not the case here. Maybe we want to credit Yannick with this, or maybe Trifonov is maturing, or both.
A real standout quality here is the attention to sonority and color, which might not be your first thought when it comes to Rachmaninoff, but I found myself appreciating the beautiful blending of tone between piano and harp, piano and flute (etc) at moments I'd never noticed before. This shouldn't be a surprise to Trifonov's fans, who know he has an imagination for music's coloristic potential. Still, it could only be possible with an appropriately balanced sound, so kudos to the recording team for that. In the liner notes, Trifonov mentions Rachmaninoff's polyphony, and it's clear that bringing out the multiple independent voices and interesting duets was a priority in this performance (for example, the beautifuly cello melody in variation 15). Rhythmically, it's all perfectly together, but maintains its excitement. And despite the clarity of lines, it's still a lush performance as I suggested at the top; the strings in variation 18 have a vintage 1930s sound, which is what I assume people mean when they speak of "nostalgia." This is not your typical virtuosic affair; it's the best kind of chamber music. Yannick and Philly make this an exceptional collaboration---and a reason to check out the CD instead of your old recording from the 1930s.
As for the solo work, again it's a pretty refined sound quality and you're not going to get that edge-of-your-seat, break-the-recording-technology visceral effect that you get from older recordings. And Trifonov is not a banger. He just isn't. You will get a richer, deeper sound here than from his Carnegie recital (and a good sense of space in the studio), but you are not going to get Lazar-Berman-style piano destruction. If you really need a pianist who beats the crap out of the piano, Trifonov is not your guy.
Trifonov's strengths are lyricism, color,---the mystical in music---so the highpoints are the slow and beautiful variations, which, conveniently are also dramatically structured to be highlighted in the sets. For example, I never appreciated the lullaby-like (yet unsettling) variation 15 in Corelli listening to Pletnev; Trifonov doesn't sound as idiosyncratic and dry here as Pletnev does, but/and he's more beautiful. I have heard Trifonov sound more idiosyncratic himself, but perhaps "on record" he reigned it in a bit. In terms of pacing and structure, I find both the Corelli and Chopin sets work just fine. Sure, Lugansky is equally fine in this regard, but no one today plays with Trifonov's love of delicacy, beauty, and lyricism. If you like those elements, this is your recording.
(Side note: If you're a believer in never modifying composers' original scores, you may be annoyed at this Chopin set. Trifonov makes some cuts and replays the Chopin prelude at the end again [à la Goldbergs or Beethoven 109].)
The original piece is only 5 tracks out of 73 and hardly enough to bring this review down from 5 to 4 stars. I suppose it gives the album a nice conceptual appeal, but musically, no thanks. I will say, since no one else has said so publicly, if Trifonov wants to become a serious composer he needs to get away from the piano and work with the actual composition of sounds rather than rely on pianistic gestures derived from muscle memory. On the other hand, most music written by 18 year olds is pretty derivative, so let's not waste any more time on this. The 5 tracks are easily skipped.
Bottom line: this pianist has a unique musical voice and imagination. His strengths are the beautiful, the intimate, the lyrical, unlike others who might rely on visceral piano carnage, superficial technical display, or dry intellectual pedanticism. What saves it all from falling into a series of dreamy, ruminative episodes is Trifonov's intellectual understanding of what's going on structurally. So I wouldn't recommend him in quite the same terms that Martha Argerich did (the "tender and demonic elements" together), but simply say, yes, there is a brain there in addition to the heart-on-the-sleeve romanticism and mystical imagination.
Ultimately, I'd recommend hearing him live in a good acoustic, but this CD is a good start.
- Audio-cd (25 september 2015)
- Aantal schijven: 1
- Label: Classics: Dg
- Looptijd: 79 Minuten
- ASIN: B00WYMBZCO
- Klantenrecensies: 45 klantbeoordelingen
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