One of our greatest young piano talents in masterful Beethov
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 04/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Piotr Anderszewski is a born Beethoven player, just as he's a born Bach player, gifted with imaginaiton, touch, and daring. His Diabelli Var., which helped to build his internaitonal reputation, were highly original, and that's been a hallmark of his career. I wondered how many risks he would take with the seemingly innocuous Beethoven Cto. #1, which for some odd reason appeals to pianists (e.g, Richter and Argerich) who otherwise shy away from the mature conertos like the Fourth and Emperor.
As it happens, Anderszewski proves to be more concentional than Mikhail Pletnev in his quirky, delightful First on DG. He calls upon his rock-solid technique to impart a sense of strength to Beethoven's early writing, even though the orchestral accompaniment has period touches. The soloist also serves as conductor from the keyboard, leading the excellent Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie -- he proves quite talented at it, too, with real assurance and touches of bumptiousness. Generally I don't believe in the conductor-pianist gimmick with great composers like Mozart and Beethoven (yes, they did it themselves, but....). In this case, Anderszewski, like Murray Perahia in his complete Mozart concertos on Sony, dispelled my doubts.
He plays the long first movement cadenza by Beethoven, which reaches beyond the classical propriety of the work, taking us into later Beethveon -- I'm grateful since it adds more harmonic interest. Here Anderszewski is so masterful that the cadenza is worth the price of the whole CD. The second-movement Largo is actually taken as a largo, with poetic phrasing from the soloist contrasted against the bracing accompaniment. The finale isn't quite as imaginative as either Richtr or Argerich -- this is the most conventional-sounding movement -- but the often explosive orchestral playing strikes a novel note.
Should we really call the Six Bagatelles Op. 126 a filler? These eccentric pieces, a favorite of Brendel's and Richter's, allow the pianist to show his full comprehension of Beethoven's often mysterious late style. Anderszewski ventures boldly, though not as aggressively as Richter, and his varied, imaginative attack opens the ears at every turn. A far cry from Brnedel's dry, overly classical approach. We're in the world of the Diabelli Var. where Anderszewski feels right at home.
In all, this is another impressive CD from a musician, already acclaimed at every appearance, who continues his steady march toward greatness. Virgin/EMI's piano sound is full, with deep bass but a somewhat edgy glare at highest volume. Hard attacks bring out ringing ambience from the spacious hall."