- Audio CD (Feb. 13 2001)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: Universal Music Canada
- ASIN: B000056PRG
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,398 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Live at Carnegie Hall
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|4. Etude de virtuosite, Op. 72 No. 6|
|5. Islamey - Balakirev|
Mikhail Pletnev made a belated Carnegie Hall debut as a pianist in November 2000. Listening to the recital on this CD confirms the wisdom of the pianist's decision to resign as music director of the Russian National Orchestra. In the Bach-Busoni "Chaconne", Pletnev's crescendi wash over the listener like tidal waves; the mighty edifice of the music seems to rise mysteriously and inexorably, on its own. The angry surges in the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata op.111 are perhaps overdrawn. But the concluding movement's variations glide by as if in a dream, suggesting the transformation of the earlier movement's passionate anger into a vision of paradise beyond the power of words to describe. In Chopin's Four Scherzos, Pletnev emphasises too many details and inhibits the music's lyrical sweep. But the charm and dazzling pyrotechnics of his encores help make this the first great piano recording of the millennium. After Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Scarlatti and Moszkowski, Pletnev's fifth and final encore was Balakirev's transcendentally difficult Islamey. The superhuman virtuosity, sonorous splendour and technicolour exoticism of this performance will knock your socks off. --Stephen Wigler
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This is therefore for fans and encyclopaedic collectors only. Those looking for insight, for probing and illuminating performances, must give it a miss. In the end, like so many other Russians, he was perhaps simply not completely himself playing outside his own territory.
Pletnev's Chopin Scherzi are dazzling, with the occasional quirk or mannerism. Here and there I prefer Pogorelich, also on DG, but those are studio recordings, and to play with such awesome fluency in a live concert is a remarkable achievement.
Appplause is included throughout the disc, and Pletnev's habit of starting a piece when the applause for the previous one has barely died down is a little disconcerting, but it does transmit the continuity and excitement of the occasion.
The second CD enshrines Pletnev's interpretation on Balakirev's Islamey (rather a long work for an encore), which is fast and furious, although (as in the Chopin) his cantabile playing in the central section is beautiful. Occasionally he runs away with himself virtuosity-wise (some of the Rachmaninov Etude-tableau sound a bit choppy, and the closing bars of Islamey become more of a maelstrom of sound rather than a genuine denouement), but altogether this is a fine release.
Excellent sound: the piano is vivid without being too close, and the ambience is ideal for this type of playing.
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