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Prokofiev: Symphony No 5, Piano Concerto No 3 (Matsuev) – The Mariinsky Label

PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No 3

CD of the Month Classical CD Choice

****½ Performance **** Sonics SA-CD.net

  • Valery Gergiev conductor
    Denis Matsuev piano

    Mariinsky Orchestra

  • Total duration 70m38s

    Catalogue number MAR0549
    UPC 822231854920

    Vladimir Ryabenko producer
    Vladimir Ryabenko engineering, editing & mastering

    Piano Concerto No 3 recorded June & October 2012 in the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia.
    Symphony No 5 recorded April 2012 in the Moscow Conservatoire, during the Moscow Easter Festival.

    Includes multi-channel 5.0 and stereo mixes
    Notes in English / en Francais / auf Deutsch / на русском языке

  • ****½ Performance **** Sonics
    'This generously filled SACD disc is essential listening.' SA-CD.net

    'Denis Matsuev is dazzling wherever digital dexterity is required, which is everywhere, and it's incredibly refreshing to hear a performance of the work at tempos under nine minutes for two out of the three movements – closer to the composer's own version. Gergiev and Matsuev beautifully capture the brittle wit of the first movement's second subject, with its dry castanets, and in the second movement the allegro giusto fifth variation is among the best you'll hear.' Classics Today

    ‘How does Gergiev conduct Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony? In a word, magnificently. This is a performance that captures all the power and beauty of the symphony, not to mention the myriad colours that the composer created in what is arguably his finest work. Gergiev also adds to the coruscating abrasiveness of the piece by bringing to the fore virtually every dissonance. What makes this performance such an overwhelming experience is the quality of the recording. This is a Super Audio CD (SACD) and it shows. The climaxes in the first and third movements are guaranteed lease-breakers for apartment dwellers. The visceral impact of the percussion is astonishing.’ Musical Toronto

    ‘The Allegro takes off at a very fast pace, with impressively precise articulation from the pianist… but he is also able to play with sensitivity and delicacy where that is required… The Mariinsky Orchestra is in excellent form in both those performances… This release is recommended.’ Fanfare


Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev, Mariinsky Orchestra

The Mariinsky label presents Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 and Symphony No 5, two of the composer's most popular works. Denis Matsuev features as soloist, in this his fourth recording on the label. Since winning the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998, Matsuev has established a reputation as one of Russia’s leading pianists, renowned for his interpretations of Russian music. His recordings of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3 and Paganini Variations, Shostakovich's Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 and Tchaikovsky’s first two piano concertos have all received widespread acclaim.

Written in 1944, at the height of World War II, the fifth symphony was intended as “a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit.” The symphony’s character was inevitably determined by the time and circumstances of its composition. It would be a patriotic work; big, heroic and ultimately optimistic, a symphony of mass appeal. ‘I thought of it as a work glorifying the human spirit,’ wrote the composer.

Prokofiev wrote five piano concertos, but it is his third that has garnered the most popularity and critical acclaim. It remains one of Prokofiev’s most popular pieces and the qualities of clarity and vitality that appealed to the work’s original audiences become apparent almost immediately as the work begins.

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