Having recently praised the beauties of the Pierre Boulez recording of the three Bartók piano concertos each with a different orchestra and soloist (Zimmerman, Grimaud, Andsnes), returning to this wholly satisfying CD with Yefim Bronfman at the keyboard and Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic traversing these miraculous concerti is grounding. No hype here, just brilliant music making.
Bronfman has these three works so melded into his psyche that he makes the challenges sound simple and pulls the angst and romance of the slow movements into such pure and clear resonance with the orchestra that the result is transcendent. Salonen doesn't just conduct this fine orchestra: he collaborates with not only the soloist but also with each first desk player who has solo lines and then with the lush tutti sounds for which this orchestra is known.
In short, this is as fine a performance of I, II, and III of Bartók as any coupling on record. Indispensable Bartók! Grady Harp, October 05