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Blog #51. Amsterdam

As I always say: there is not even one day without improvisation in my life. It gives a peculiar scent to every day. Especially when you are on tour. And today’s happening proves this. As you know I am in Amsterdam right now. Tomorrow we will give a start to a series of concerts with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and maestro Mariss Jansons. And suddenly I got a phone call from maestro Gergiev, who was curious about where I was at that very moment. And when he got my answer – Amsterdam, he was really pleased and said that he was in Rotterdam. He is to perform a concert there tomorrow with Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (they collaborated for many years). Besides he has a great festival there. And I took part in it many times.

And in less than 30 minutes Valery Abissalovich was in Amsterdam. Now we are all in the capital of Netherlands, celebrating absolutely improvisational and at the same time legendary meeting of these two masters on Dutch territory. I couldn't help sharing this news with you! See you soon!

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Blog #23

This blog is about how we recorded the disc that is to be released in February 2014. This is our third work with Maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky label. The two previous CDs with records enjoyed great success. The first record included Rachmaninoff's the Third Concerto and Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini. The second - two Shostakovich’s concertos and the Fifth concert of Shchedrin. And here we are with V. Gergiev decided to record these two concerts by P. I. Tchaikovsky. Along with the famous First Concerto you will enjoy less known, but not less beloved, the Second Concerto. Maestro Gergiev shares my opinion that this outstanding concert, undeservedly forgotten and unfortunately rarely performed, must become famous. Therefore we have decided to present these two concerts to the public in such a bundle. Immerse yourself in these moments the recording, that was made a year ago in the concert hall of the Mariinsky.

Director and camera - A. Matison, cameraman - V. Ivanov, sound - I.Muraviev, P. Nedel, design - A.Proshin


Review by of a new disc "Tchaikovsky. Piano Concertos 1&2 - Matsuev, Gergiev (Mariinsky label)

The Russian pianist Denis Matsuev has already shown his dazzling virtuosity on record in works by Shostakovich, Shchedrin, Rachmaninov and others. On this new generously filled (78'32”) SACD from the Mariinsky label he performs both of Tchaikovsky's completed Piano Concertos accompanied by Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra.

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Videos of Denis Matsuev's performance in terms of the Easter festival

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 24” channel, and the video is available on the “Culture” TV channel web site.


BBC Music Magazine assessed the latest CD by Denis Matsuev as a 5-star recording

The review by Callum McDonald says:

Denis 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.

Rodion 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.


Asian tour finishing triumphantly

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.


The new CD by Matsuev and Gergiev is "definitely recommended" by the most demanding critics

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 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!”.

You can buy the CD with concertos by Shostakovich and Shchedrin on Mariinsky label official web site.


New video added to Denis Matsuev's YouTube channel: Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev in the documentary “Symphony accompanied by the rumble of wheels”

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 Burykin.

You can watch the video here.


"Gergiev, Matsuev and Mariinsky ignite in memorable evening of Russian music"

Wynne Delacoma, "Chicago Classical Review"

October, 13, 2010

Denis Matsuev performed Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra Tuesday night at Symphony Center. 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.

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