Denis Matsuev

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Reviews on Australian and Singapore Tour of Denis Matsuev with Valery Gergiev and LSO

1. London Symphony Orchestra, Program 2

Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, November 25

★★★★★

Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 is the is closest thing to a warhorse on the London Symphony Orchestra's historic tour of Australia, and the hall was packed to hear it, alongside Shostakovich's 10th symphony. From the start soloist Denis Matsuev, known as the "Siberian bear", demonstrated tight, comprehensive mastery, blocking the tenths of the opening chords with his massive hands, and giving them shape and colour, as if they were mere triads. It set the tone for the entire performance: rather than battling to climb a pianistic mountain, with risks and slips on the way, Matsuev seemed to stride across the work. That's not to say he made it sound easy – the final movement had me on the edge of my seat, boggling at the tempo – but he appeared to be able to play it, give us his interpretation, even reflect upon it, as well as just survive.

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Concert review: Brilliant lineup of Prokofiev's best works by London Symphony Orchestra

Denis Matsuev plays with bravura, and the concerto provided an ideal vehicle to show off pianistic ability. He excelled in the percussive and dramatic passages, and was no less convincing in lyrical sections, and totally revelled in the glissandos. As much as he was dazzling in his control and massive dynamics, a fully satisfying performance of the concerto calls for greater regard for the splashes of irony, levity and delicacy to be found in the writing.

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Blog #44. Tour to Singapore and Australia

Two days in a row, 12 hours each day – shooting of New Year Celebration Concert on Kultura TV-channel, yesterday - concert in Mariinka (St.Petersburg) and recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano concerto #1 till 2 o’clock in the morning. Today – heading to Singapore, flight time – 12 hours. See you soon!

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