Mikhail Pletnev-the pianist
Michael Chorny | Jerusalem, Israel | 06/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This double album issues excellent recordings. Tchikovsky most probably is Pletnev's favourite composer. It is a very serious challenge for a pianist to undertake transcriptions of Tchaikovsky' ballet music. First, a number of great pianists and composers had already contributed to Tchaikovsky' transcriptions library (including paraphrase by Pabst and Rachmaninov transciption of the "Sleeping beauty" Suite for piano duo). Second, Tchaikovsky music is very orchestral in its nature. Therefore, the transcriber must not only be a first class pianist but also know the Tchaikovsky score 'from inside' as is the case for Pletnev (compare these recordings with his famous "Sleeping beauty" performance as a conductor). He copes with this task extremely well. You can hear the original music in every detail which is particularly hard to achieve in a transcription for solo piano. His performance of the Seasons is one of the finest I know, and the Second piano concerto (probably least popular of them) is brilliant as well. I strongly recommend this recording."
A Fine (but not the Finest) Representation of Plentev's Art
Aronne | 04/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 2-CD set, volume 77 in Philips' "Great Pianists of the Century" series, covers a good variety of Tchaikovsky's output for piano. Mikhail Pletnev performs everything with brava and understanding.
The contents of the second CD can all be had elsewhere. The fabulous Sleeping Beauty transcriptions (Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Sleeping Beauty) and the Piano Concerto No. 2 (Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-3; Concert Fantasy) are still available from Virgin Records, together (Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos, Symphony Pathetique, The Seasons, & Piano Pieces; Mikhail Pletnev/Russian National Orchestra (4 CD's)) or separately. Virgin coupled the Sleeping Beauty transcriptions with Pletnev's later version of The Seasons. The present version, recorded during Pletnev's Melodia days, is not as artistically searching or as well recorded.
The gem on this issue is Pletnev's transcription of pieces from The Nutcracker. All but the Tarantella, Intermezzo (No. 8 in the original ballet), and the Pas de Deux are members of Tchaikovsky's own suite selection. All of the pieces are performed with flair, and with elegance where appropriate. The piano sound is good, if a bit brittle. The suite was issued by Melodya on one of its sampler discs: Melodiya: The Russian Label - Highlights.
The Romance in F minor, Valse-Scherzo in A, and the Capriccio in G flat are welcome and enjoyable bonuses, making this two-CD enticing enough for Pletnev's fans to investigate. The general collector is probably best advised to look elsewhere."