Denis Matsuev

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L. A. Times Music review: Denis Matsuev at The Hollywood Bowl review

The evening's splashy soloist was Denis Matsuev in Prokofiev's splashy First Piano Concerto. Winner of the 1998 Tchaikovsky competition, Matsuev has been nicknamed "the Siberian bear." Slightly bear-like he may be, but one with the fastest paws in the Arctic and maybe anywhere else.

He's a Russian banger, perhaps, but with glittering cascades of sound that impart terrific sparkle. And that meant nonstop fireworks in an early score Prokofiev had written to show himself off. Urbanski found an excellent balance for the orchestra, allowing Matsuev his prominence, but offering exquisite accompanimental phrasing.

In an unusual, but smart, move, Matsuev then followed the relatively short concerto with a piano solo — two selections from Stravinsky's "Petrushka," setting off a whole new round of amazing percussive fireworks. Nor was there any stopping him. Matsuev returned for an encore, his own outrageously and irresistibly flashy arrangement of "Largo al Factotum" from Rossini's "Barber of Seville."

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