Search - Sergey Prokofiev, Ainslee Cox, Nüremberg Symphony Orchestra :: Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16/ No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26

Prokofiev  - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16/ No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Sergey Prokofiev, Ainslee Cox, Nüremberg Symphony Orchestra
Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16/ No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


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Melvyn M. Sobel | Freeport (Long Island), New York | 08/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These 1973 Bolet recordings of Prokofiev are the most truthful I've ever heard, the most innately vital and telling. After my very first listening, I understood immediately why: purity and clarity, words not often associated with mainstay twentieth century Russian music.

Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 16 and Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 26, usually tackled with an orchestral ferocity and thorniness that repels newcomers in droves, are rendered quite the contrary here in outstandingly original performances by Bolet, Cox and the Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra. Why? Because this ensemble carves the "fat" from these works and allows us a pristine display of their masterful "skeletal frameworks." Arguably, there are those--- the majority, probably--- who prefer Prokofiev "beefed-up"; but, frankly, I believe the composer, himself, deliberately orchestrated these concertos to showcase the piano, not vice versa.

Bolet's performances with the Nuremburgers, under Ainslee Cox, attest to this by being more akin to chamber concertos, very much stylistically classical in their stunning simplicity and directness, with the piano always the prominent speaker, the orchestra scaled back, the give-and-take dialogue between the two uniquely intimate. This transparency transforms these concertos into works we hear as never before, allowing us sparkling new insights and putting in perspective complexities heretofore completely buried.

With the orchestral "ground" cleared, one feels very much like a musical anthropolgist at his first excavation uncovering the "bones" of these magnificent compositions. What was hidden becomes overt, and similarities between concertos become sublime discoveries. The more one "digs," the more one unearths.

A remarkable adventure, and what makes this CD an indispensable rarity, together with, of course, the fabulous artistry of Bolet, so astonishingly attuned to Prokofiev's elemental essence--- the composer's sardonic wit, passionate emotionalism, fiery energy--- that he is uncannily able to keep it all in balance.

[Running time: 59:49]"
A small point of comparison
Shady Ave Reader | Arlington, VA | 10/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I am not a musician, but I search out Jorge Bolet's music, as he played with a particular expressiveness and romantic feeling that I find unique among "modern" pianists. As the other reviewer has accurately described there is a bare bones feeling to this recording, particularly the 2nd Concerto. While this approach may be interesting and intellectually appealing to some, those who look for the usual Bolet style may be a little disappointed in this somewhat precise (stiff?) performance.

By way of comparison, Bolet's earlier recording of the Prokofiev 2nd, on Remington records is everything this later one is not. In the earlier version recorded in 1950's with the Cincinnati Orchestra (and unfortunately not yet on CD)Bolet exudes energy, verve,inventiveness and emotion in every note. It has the feeling of a live concert. Unlike the Nuremberg Symphony, the Cincinnati orchestra is not neatly nuanced, rather it is dynamic and passionate (and occasionally over the top!) This is not to say that Bolet's earlier performance is not technically correct, but precision does not feel like a preoccupation as it seems to be on the later CD version.

While the more intellectual approach to this music might be more satisfying to some listeners, I rather prefer Bolet (and Prokofiev for that matter) with a bit more heart than this CD has.

All being said, however, this is still quite a good CD, just not the best Bolet in my mind. It is perhaps a testament to the career and talent of Bolet, that he was able to produce one version of Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Concerto to satisfy the musicologist, and another that appeals to the unschooled romantic. And until the old version comes out on CD, this is your only option to hear Bolet play these pieces.

Much better than the sound clip
Shady Ave Reader | 04/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No other than Emil Gilels once said that Jorge Bolet was the only pianist in the west who understood Prokovief second piano concerto. The soundclips available to sample the recording are no representation of the emotional impact of this performance. This is a great cd to have."