Chandos has a great catalog of Prokofiev recordings,
including a 1992 set of the five
piano concertos split by soloists
Horacio Gutiérrez and Boris
Berman with the Concertgebouw
Orchestra under Neeme Järvi.
This new two-disc set — featuring French virtuoso Jean-Efflam
Bavouzet, whose work for the
label includes magical solo
Debussy — is a generally lighter
take on this ever-alluring music.
The BBC Philharmonic doesn’t
pack the punch of the august
Dutch orchestra and there are
other more moving versions of
Nos. 1 (Toradze/Gergiev) and
5 (Richter). Yet Gianandrea
Noseda is an excellent Prokofiev
conductor — see his Chandos
take on ballet rarity The Stone
Flower — and Bavouzet is both
beautiful and exciting in No. 2
and the cycle’s most popular, the
glittering No. 3. — B.B.
Piano Concertos Nos. 1–5
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
In an even dozen solos transcribed from Oscar Peterson recordings,
Andrew Litton grasps the dazzling
runs and big, rapid left hand chords
with genuine idiomatic flair and a
sense of timing that do the late, great
jazz virtuoso justice. It is true that
back-to-back comparisons reveal
Oscar to have the lighter touch and
A Tribute to Oscar Peterson
Andrew Litton, piano
(BIS 2034) (SACD)
sharper accents, along with more
angular linear projection, pliable
bass lines and harmonic tension.
In other words, Litton’s fingers
are pianistically oriented, while
Oscar’s evoke the dynamism, color
and visceral impact of a big band.
Still, this disc is an obvious labor of
unconditional love. — J.D.