Digest of reviews on American tour of Denis Matsuev

February 13 2015

Mr. Matsuev boasts a prodigious technique and interpretive flair.

…he also revealed a lyrical, reflective side. He certainly has masterly command of this formidably difficult work.

Tchaikovsky packs a lot into the short, restless, almost giddy finale, which Mr. Matsuev played with uncanny ease.

Anthony Tommasini

New York Times


Matsuev’s power and grace recalled to mind that of the young Emil Gilels.

William Noll



Matsuev’s big-boned, take-no-prisoners playing swept through the rapid-fire passages and hand crossings of the opening Allegro brilliante with devilish verve.

Laurence Budman

Miami Herald


I was thinking about golf in connection with the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2. This is a tremendously difficult piece, played by very few, because it is so hard. In Carnegie Hall the other night, Denis Matsuev played it ferociously, splendidly, and conqueringly. I thought, “He brought this monster to its knees.”

Jay Nordlinger

National Review


Tchaikovsky’s 12 little tone poems, each illustrating a month of the year. Matsuev delivered the gentler music with subtle colors and textures, subtly layered.

Scott Cantrell

Dallas Morning News


True to his Russian heritage, Matsuev demonstrated an immediate and remarkable insight into these short, descriptive sketches, finding shadings and pianistic qualities in a composer…

Schumann’s profoundly impetuous Kreisleriana, one of the landmark expressions of high romanticism, came across with a Russian accent, but with a good deal of understanding and a strong, authentic viewpoint.

Here, as elsewhere on the program, it was in the lyrical sections (such as the gloriously rising closing theme of the first movement) that Matsuev was most arrestingly impressive.

Wayne Lee Gay

Front Row


“Matsuev a poet at the piano”

a major portion of Matsuev’s recital was given over to poetry at the piano, of which Matsuev proved to be a master.

Back in tamer territory, he gave a flowing performance of Kreisleriana that re-created the charming atmosphere of the opening Tchaikovsky.

Olin Chism



Matsuev's most musical playing, in contrast to his percussive playing of the fortissimo passages, was in the concerto's more lyric moments, where he drew out beautifully singing tones from the piano. Similarly expressive was his solo encore, from Tchaikovsky's The Seasons.

By Geoffrey Simon



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