May, 2, is
Valery Gergiev’s birthday. Denis Matsuev performed together with the maestro at
this special occasion – which has become a tradition already. The concert took
place at the stage of the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire in terms of
the Easter festival, an event inspired by Valery Gergiev. Follow this link to
watch the video by the “Russia
channel, and the video is available on the “Culture” TV channel web site.
Matsuev might be better known internationally as a Rachmaninov expert, but
these new accounts of the two Shostakovich concertos must be among the best
currently available. He is brilliant and mercurial in the fast movements of
both works, creatively negotiating the First’s many changes of direction, tempo
and style and bringing a sense of élan to the Second’s outer movements. He also
gives the Second’s Rachmaninov-like central Andante due expressive weight and
romantic feeling. In all this he is assisted by the superb playing that Valery
Gergiev draws from the Mariinsky orchestra, and superb SACD sound.
Shchedrin’s atmospheric Fifth concerto (1999) is less pithy, but the subdued
poetry of its first two movements is haunted by past composers – most notably,
Prokofiev. Its finale explodes into a capricious moto perpetuo, becoming a
bravura toccata that leads to a kaleidoscopic finale. Matsuev’s stamina and
technique pass the test with flying colours. Though the piece seems overlong, I
was glad to hear it. This unfamiliar coupling offers added value for any
collector of Russian music.
March, 5, Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev will give the final concert of the triumphal Asian tour. During the tour that embraced Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai Denis Matsuev, one of the best Russian pianists, played Sergei Prokofiev, one of the most often performed Russian composers.
The concert in South Korea was especially meaningful because the London Symphony Orchestra visited the city for the first time in 6 years. The press noticed that Denis “enthralled the audience with a rendition of Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3”.
No less meaningful was the visit of Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev in Beijing and Shanghai. The critics state that there are more and more connoisseurs of classical music in the country. Performances of famous musicians are in growing demand, new concert halls are constantly being built throughout the country.
Denis’ concert geography in 2012 has been impressive: he has performed
in New York and Los Angeles, in Irkutsk and Saint Petersburg, in Zurich
and London, in Tokyo and Seoul and many other cities. Soon the musician will be heading to Kazakhstan and Germany and then he will devote the first
half of April to Russia – Orenburg and Chelyabinsk.
February, 6, a new CD was released on “Mariinsky” label: soloist Denis Matsuev and the Mariinsky orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev perform Shostakovich, Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2 and Shchedrin. Piano Concerto No. 5. After listening to the CD, the critics called it “one of the most impressive advances in recent years”.
The British site SA-CD.net wrote: “Denis Matsuev's account of the Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings leaves one breathless in admiration for his formidable technique and the accuracy of his playing … All three works are performed by the gifted Russian virtuoso Denis Matsuev accompanied by the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev whose affinity with the music of both composers is clearly evident in the performances on this disc … There is no doubt that this recording will further enhance the growing reputation of this outstanding Russian virtuoso. Definitely recommended”
The French ResMusica gave just as high praise: “We particularly admire the combination of strength and variety of colour which perfectly suits these concertos... the pianist twirls the notes into constant musical fireworks ... One of the most impressive advances in recent years”.
The CD with the concertos by Shostakovich and Shchedrin is the second collaboration of the Mariinsky label and Denis Matsuev. The first one, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, was released in February 2010. BBC Music Magazine characterized it as “darting unerringly between the music’s extremes of fantastical virtuosity and tight-reined lyricism”. Classics Today gave the highest point (10 out of 10) both to its artistic values and technique and exclaimed: “What a pianist! Denis Matsuev is a phenomenon. Here he proves that he can associate his virtuosity with a real sense of style and aesthetic!”.
The 10th Easter
festival headed by Valery Gergiev turned into a marathon for the
musicians: 18 cities, 4 borders, 2 concerts a day. The spectators
perceive the festival as a festive occasion but very few of them think
about what a distance have the participants covered, how long have they
slept, how their instruments were transported. In the documentary
“Symphony accompanied by the rumble of wheels” you can watch the
festival from Valery Gergiev’s, Denis Matsuev’s and the Mariinsky
Symphony Orchestra’s point of view. In the movie you can hear
compositions by Ravel, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Verdi.
The documentary was shot in 2011. Direction and script by Alexey
Denis Matsuev performed Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with
Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra Tuesday night at Symphony
Put Russian conductor Valery Gergiev on a podium and the usual result is
musical fireworks. Pair him with his hometown orchestra, St.
Petersburg’s venerable Mariinsky Orchestra, and the chemistry becomes
combustible, especially when the sensational Moscow-born pianist Denis
Matsuev is a guest.