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Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 / Overture on Hebrew Themes
Sergey Prokofiev, Zubin Mehta, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 / Overture on Hebrew Themes
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

This is the Prokofiev concerto cycle for the digital age. Yefim Bronfman relishes every steely flourish of this brilliant and angular music. His performance of the Second Concerto, Prokofiev's best but not most popular,...  more »

      
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Amazon.com essential recording
This is the Prokofiev concerto cycle for the digital age. Yefim Bronfman relishes every steely flourish of this brilliant and angular music. His performance of the Second Concerto, Prokofiev's best but not most popular, really does achieve transcendent greatness. The first movement features a "cadenza from hell"--a solo section comprising almost half the movement--that has to be heard to be believed. Bronfman flies through it, fingers sweeping the keyboard to the point where you fear for the health of his piano. The Fourth Concerto is for left hand only and is the least well known of the five. Bronfman makes the best possible case for it, and the charming overture is a delightful bonus. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Best Prokofiev Recording Available
08/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Yefim Bronfman & Zubin Mehta have joined forces to produce one of the best recordings of any Prokofiev work. In particular, the 2nd Piano Concerto is as fine a recording as you are ever likely to hear, of anything. Clear, clean, superbly performed and immaculately recorded, it is virtually flawless. Mr. Bronfman's cadenzas are nothing short of spectacular, and the piano as recorded is as clear as if you were playing it yourself. One of the great all-time discs, this is certainly the definitive version of these pieces, majestically paced and emotionally and technically perfect. Highly recommended."
Lacks emotional depth
M. A. Downs | 02/20/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This recording disappoints me. Bronfman seems to work his way through Prokofiev's second piano concerto focused only on the difficult notes. The recording lacks the intensity and emotion the piece is capable of. The Prokofiev piano concerto #2 is one of my favorite pieces of music, but I honestly recomend a better recording. Michael Beroff has a recording out of the piece that is by far, one of the best recordings I've ever heard. If you want to hear the emotion involved in Prokofiev's best concerto, listen to Beroff."
Prokofiev 2nd - Surprised was not better
Shady Ave Reader | Arlington, VA | 03/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I purchased this mostly for the Prokofiev 2nd which is one of my favorites. I am not a big fan of the Prokofiev 4th, thus my comments are limited to the 2nd.

Prior to purchasing the CD, I had the chance to hear Bronfman play the Prokofiev 2nd at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC with the National Symphony Orchestra (with whom he also performed the 3rd on another date.) In the live performances, Bronfman's playing was far more vivacious and less studious than on this recording. As others have noted, Bronfman takes the piece too much in stride, and the orchestra also is just going through the paces. On the plus side, the quality of the recording is well balanced between orchestra and piano which is a challenge given the dynamics of the piece.

As for being the best available recording of the 2nd, I would put it behind the Gutierrez/Jarvi/Royal Concertgebouw recording still available on Chandos. Shura Cherkassky's performance with the London Philharmonic (BBC recording)is also available and more satisfying even if he does miss a few notes and invent a few others along the way (he was age 80+ at the time).

As for the best recording of the 2nd, my vote goes for Jorge Bolet's performance with the Cincinnati Orchestra which was issued on a Remington LP in the 1950's and (re-released on Turnabout in the 1970's). Bolet and conductor Thor Johnson provide a whirlwind performance that at times is over the top, but totally engaging from start to finish. I wish someone would rediscover those tapes and reissue it."