Prokofiev: Piano Concertos 2 & 5 - Kholodenko, Harth-Bedoya
Harmonia Mundi HMU 807631
Classical - Orchestral
Prokofiev: Piano Concertos 2 & 5
Vadym Kholodenko (piano)
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
2013 Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko became the first-ever 'Artist in Partnership' with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra beginning in 2014-15. Under the baton of Miguel Harth-Bedoya he opens his complete cycle of Prokofiev piano concertos with the 'dark-hued but dazzling' No. 2 in G minor, coupled with the less familiar No. 5 in G major.
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Review by Graham Williams - March 16, 2016
The first release in Vadym Kholodenko's projected cycle of Prokofiev's 5 Piano Concertos for Harmonia Mundi couples two of the composer's least performed concertos (2 & 5) in thrilling accounts that make one eager for the completion of this enterprise – (Concertos 1, 3 and 4) scheduled for 2016/17.
Ukranian born Kholodenko was the winner of the gold medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013 and unsurprisingly has been garnering glowing reviews for the virtuosity of his playing - something that these days is almost taken for granted with concert pianists - but also for the thoughtful musicianship of his performances. The challenges of Prokofiev's formidable 2nd Piano Concerto display both these qualities to the full. Kholodenko's account of the opening movement is richly expressive from the start and the monumental cadenza that occupies more that a third of this movement is delivered with fearsome power and weight.
The Scherzo is deftly played, with Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Forth Worth Symphony Orchestra providing alert and characterful support both here and in the Intermezzo that follows. The Finale is notable for the lightness of touch Kholodenko brings to the more lyrical passages and the incisive vehemence of his articulation.
The 5th Concerto also receives a performance that makes its comparative neglect perplexing. The dominant angularity of Prokofiev's writing and the wistful lyricism found in the fourth movement spark a performance of muscular strength and mercurial wit from from Kholodenko, while Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra bring rhythmic acuity and pungency to the composer's distinctive orchestral pallet.
Both works were recorded live at the Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, Texas in October 2014 (Concerto 2) and March 2015 (Concerto 5) and conspicuously benefit from being recorded, edited and mastered in DSD by engineer Brad Michel. The perspective is close, presumably to avoid any trace of audience noise, and though the balance certainly favours the piano, comparatively few orchestral details are lost. Overall the sound is remarkably rich and vivid.
A most impressive release.
Copyright © 2016 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net