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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Daniil Trifonov And Yannick Nézet-Séguin Set A New Benchmark

By Norman Lebrecht on October 25, 2019

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1 & 3 - Daniil Trifonov and Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1 and 3 (Deutsche Grammophon)

★★★★☆

🎧 Apple Music | Spotify | Amazon

Recordings of these concertos begin with the composer himself and continue with Vladimir Horowitz, whom Rachmaninov acknowledged as the superior interpreter. The benchmark in modern times was set by Vladimir Ashkenazy with Andre Previn on Decca, an act of concentration and mutual challenge that few others could sustain across the series.

My feeling is that Daniil Trifonov and Yannick Nézet-Séguin have set the benchmark for the next quarter-century. Outstanding in their previous release of the 2nd and 4th concertos, they deliver a performance of the first concerto that makes light of its difficulties and hesitations, lightening also its endemic morbidity with little touches of finger-wit and some gorgeous phrases from the Philadelphia winds. If I am marginally less overwhelmed by the 3rd concerto, it is only because the first sets the bar so high and the competition — Argerich, Gilels, Richter, Hough — is so ferocious. Trifonov holds his own against the highest, lacking only the definitive act of possession. Perhaps he makes too light of the work’s flickering moods, perhaps the conductor is a tad prosaic. One is so used to being convinced by Trifonov that it is reassuring to find him mortal. Ten years from now, he will read the work quite differently.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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