Despite being a prolific symphonist, Shostakovich only wrote two piano concertos. His first features a prominent solo trumpet part which provides dialogue with the piano and an independent voice “commenting” on the music of the piano and orchestra. The Second Concerto, by contrast, is more unified, and is unusually happy and optimistic in nature for Shostakovich.
Rodion Shchedrin has so far composed six piano concertos, each signifying a new phase in his compositional development, as well as a double concerto for piano and cello and a substantial corpus of solo piano works. His Fifth Concerto is influenced by the music of both Shostakovich and Prokofiev.
Since winning the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998 Matsuev has established a reputation as one of Russia’s leading pianists. Here, he joins Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra for his second release on the Mariinsky label.
**** - Excellent
Luca Segalla - Musica magazine - June 2012
"...Matsuev remains a dazzling soloist ..."
Performance **** Recording *****
"...these new accounts of the two Shostakovich Concertos must be among the best currently available. He [Denis Matsuev] is brilliant and mercurial in the fast movements of both works, creatively negotiating the First’s many changes of direction, tempo and style and bringing a sense of elán to the Second’s outer movements. He also gives the Second’s Rachmaninov-like central Andante all due expressive weight and Romantic feeling. In all this he is assisted by the superb playing that Valery Gergiev draws from the Mariinsky Orchestra, and superb SACD sound... these performances are exceptional ... This unfamiliar coupling offers added value for any collector of Russian music."
Calum MacDonald - BBC Music magazine - March 2012
Clef du Mois
"We particularly admire the combination of strength and variety of colour which perfectly suits these concertos ... the pianist twirls the notes into constant musical fireworks ... One of the most impressive recordings in recent years"
ResMusica (France) magazine
"Denis Matsuev’s account of the Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings leaves one breathless in admiration for his formidable technique and the accuracy of his playing … All three works are performed by the gifted Russian virtuoso Denis Matsuev accompanied by the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev whose affinity with the music of both composers is clearly evident in the performances on this disc … There is no doubt that this recording will further enhance the growing reputation of this outstanding Russian virtuoso. Definitely recommended"