RACHMANINOFF: Piano Cponcerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1 STRAVINSKY:Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. SHCHEDRIN: Piano Concerto No. 2.
Denis Matsuev, piano. Mariinsky Orch/Verlery Gergiev, cond.

RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 3 in A minor. BALAKIREV: Russia.
London Symphony Orch/Valery Gergiev, cond.
LSO LIVE 739 TT: 56:30Mbvr<

FAURE: Une chatelaine en sa tour Op. 110 Imprompty, Op. 86. Op. 110. CAPLET: a la française. a l'Espagnole. SCHOELIER: Esstal. TOURNIUER: Sonatine, Op. 30. DEBUSSY: La soiree dans Grenade. Jardin sous la poluie. MANTOVANI: Tocar.
Sivan Magen, harp
LINN SACD 473 TT: 61:00

Dennis Matsuev is a magnificent pianist, physically imposing, obviously a package of pianist ic power. And he performs with a direct approach avoiding all of the superficial totally without the pohony histyrionics of some pianists (particularly Lang Lang). Matsuev continues to impress, and this new recording of Russian concertos is a knock-out. He rips into the Rachmaninoff concerto with tremendous vigor, and his playing of the first movement cadenza is unequalled. He is given perfect support from the superb orchestra under Gergiev's keen direction, and the result is one of the major recordings of this masterpiece. They are equally effective in the Stravinsky concerto, and of particular interest is Shchedrin's brilliant Piano Concerto No. 2, a highly percussive work with a jazzy finale. I was disappointed with audio on the Matsuev Rachmaninoff recording issued about four years ago (REVIEW), but there surely are no audio problems here. We have a big, clear resonant sound with remarkable impact. A terrific issue! And don't miss the YOUTUBE video of his stunniung performances of Rachmaninoff's Concertos 2 and 3 in one concert.

And Gergiev's Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 3 also is something very special. Recorded in London's Barbican Hall in November 14, both performances 2014 apparently live rewordings although there is no trace of an audience. This symphony;hony is problematic for many, performers as well as listeners. The LSO is at its radiant best under Gergiev's dynamic direction, building the symphony to a brilliant conclusion. The accompanying symphonic poem Russia by Balakirev is a weak work, far removed from the glories of Rachmaninoff or other leading Russian composers. Gergiev and the LSO give it its due, but it hardly will be a favorite with most listeners. Gergiev is now ending his music directorship of the London Symphony, a collaboration that began in 2006. During that time they have made many fine rewordings, a beneficial association to be sure. Now Gergiev doubtless will concentrate on his varied activities with the Mariinsky musical organizations. This new Rachmaninoff disk is excellent.

The young harpist Sivan Magen has been acclaimed by some as the new Zabaleta, and he surely shows his control of the harp in thAis program of French music written for the instrument. The recording was made in Menuhin Hall, Stoke'D'Abernon, Auditorium in May 2014. The Linn engineers have captured a huge, rich sound in the multi-channels. One might question why the program, which is rather brief, doesn't include more music.

R.E.B. (October 2015)