BBC Music Magazine assessed the latest CD by Denis Matsuev as a 5-star recording
March 17 2012
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.