"This is a great bargain for a Tchaikovsky fan or would-be fan looking to get the piano concertos. Pletnev is an incredible pianist. Sure, there are others who do parts of these concertos better, but then there are parts that he does better than all the rest, too. Don't limit yourself to one recording of the first piano concerto, but this one makes a fine start.The second is much harder to find, so I'm really happy they've made it accessible in this set, and for such a great price. Again it's very well executed. And for those who haven't heard it yet, you've got a treat coming! You may or may not like it as well as the first (I do), but in any case rest assured that it is as full of beautiful Tchaikovsky melodies.The third is uncompleted -- quite nice, but I don't listen to it much, and so can't comment here.What really makes this a special set, though, is the inclusion of the Concert Fantasy. I had never heard it before, and for awhile ignored it, assuming it was just there as filler. It's not: it's a stunningly beautiful piece that you should be sure to listen to. I hadn't even heard OF it before I got this set, and whether that was my fault or that of the Powers that Be, I thank the producers for introducing it to me here. It will remain one of my favorites.Stephen"
kv581 | Durham, NC United States | 06/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Compared to piano concerto cycles by other composers (Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninov), the complete Tchaikovsky cycle has long been neglected. There is a reason for this. The enormous popularity of the first piano concerto has for many years overshadowed the other works. Yet, as these CDs demonstrate, popularity isn't often the last word to a work's true qualities. The Tchaikovsky piano concertos, played here by the great Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev, is filled with much fire and lyricism. The CDs also contain Concert Fantasy for piano and orchestra, also a worthy piece. Of all the complete recordings of these concertos, this set is so far the least expensive. Fortunately, in the classical recording industry, price doesn't always suggest quality. Pletnev's performances are charged, the Philharmonia's playing is great, and the recorded sound is clear and distinct. For such a low price, these CDs are not to be overlooked."
Alex Serrano | Perrysburg, Ohio United States | 12/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Probably one of the most difficult aspects of performing these works is deciding what qualities of these concertos to emphasize such as structure, lyricism, bravura, dance, etc. The music indeed seems to trascends so many moods that most pianists have a very hard time balancing this act and there is an inmense discography of these concertos of disjoint and loosely-knit performances.Pletnev pushes a straightforward bravura approach with lyrical interludes - and his performance pays off brilliantly. He has the virtuoso technique and bel-canto gifts to do so, and more importantly in my modest view this is the way these concertos should be performed. Tchaikovsky wrote these works as war horses with huge demands for the performer and they should be played as such. Dont get me wrong though as these are not just display works, and those great Tchaikovsky melodies are abundant.Pletnev manages to put these works together and probably has recorded the most comprehensive set available since Gilels. The sound and balance is very good all throughout, and at this budget price it should be anyone's best option."
Pletnev is an amazing pianist
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 01/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's true. Pletnev can really capture the passion when playing the piano. And with this 2-disc set of Tchaikovsky's piano concertos, you can't go wrong with anything.
The First Piano Concerto is by far one of the finest I've ever heard, along with the versions including pianists Daniel Barenboim and Constantine Orbelian. Maestro Fedoseyev and the Philharmonia Orchestra do a stupendous job of backing up Pletnev. There are no wrong notes, no over-blaring of the brass, and best of all, no overpowering the lyrical sounds of the piano. The finale in the third movement might be a bit too quick, but it doesn't matter, as long as this rendition of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto gives out a strong and inspired performance.
The Concert Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra is an attention-grabber. It sounds serene and melodic, the typical Tchaikovsky. It is less well-known than P. Concerto no. 1, but it has the same russian flair for expression. The solo in the first movement is to die for, and the second movement has its special charm of taking people's breath away. An A+ for this one.
Hearing the original version of the 2nd P. Concerto instead of the Siloti version has given me mixed feelings. For the good, the violin and cello solos in the 2nd movement are touching, and the piano and orchestra are in top form. For the bad, the tempi seems to be very random at some points. The fast parts, for example, don't seem very fast at all.
Since I don't listen to the unfinished 3rd that much, I don't have anything to say about it. All in all, the sound quality is super, and the low price is exceptional. It's a must buy."