ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Antonin Dvorak - Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 33 / Poetic Tone-Pictures, Op. 85


ANTONIN DVORAK - PIANO CONCERTO IN G MINOR, Op. 33 - POETIC TONE-PICTURES, Op. 85 - VASSILY PRIMAKOV (Piano) - JUSTIN BROWN (Conductor) - ODENSE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - 090404930928 - Bridge 9309

It is incomprehensible as to why the Antonin Dvorák Piano Concerto is not performed or recorded as often as some of the big guns in the repertoire. To find out why, we may need to go back to the year 1876 when Dvorák composed it. He himself was not a pianist, so in his attempts to write impressive virtuoso passages for the piano in this concerto, he might not have been thinking in pianistic terms and therefore created unusual problems for the performer. That is probably one of the main reasons for its neglect, because it most certainly can't be because of the quality of the music. In true Dvorák form, it is a spirited work, of a mostly cheerful nature, loaded with well crafted melodies and a well balanced give and take between the orchestra and the soloist. The main ideas in all the movements are strong enough to provide lots of development throughout, and the two outer movements certainly build to impressive moments where the pianist has to display some technical and musical prowess.

In this new recording, the pianist Vassily Primakov negates any doubts as to the quality of the writing, and plays this work with the flair and brilliance it deserves. His articulation is clean, his accents are precise, his nuances flow in and out of the orchestral fabric with ease, and his technique is flawless. The orchestral playing under the direction of Justin Brown is just as convincing. After hearing this recording, I am convinced that you will think more highly of this neglected work.

Five piano pieces from the Poetic Tone-Pictures complete this CD, and with titles like 'At the Old Castle' and 'On the Road At Night' it is easy to see that these are excellent little tone poems, full of evocative passages that paint an emotion filled canvas. And Vassily Primakov uses all the right colors and brush strokes to bring these images to life. He takes great pleasure at bringing out the subtle mood of each piece to great effect, which under his fine playing sound like miniature masterpieces.

Jean-Yves Duperron