Tchaikovsky & Grieg - Piano Concertos | Pentatone PTC5186566

Tchaikovsky & Grieg - Piano Concertos


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Label: Pentatone

Cat No: PTC5186566

Barcode: 0827949056666

Format: Hybrid SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 22nd April 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choice



Denis Kozhukhin (piano)
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin


Vassily Sinaisky


Grieg, Edvard

Piano Concerto in A minor, op.16

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich

Piano Concerto no.1 in B flat minor, op.23


Denis Kozhukhin (piano)
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin


Vassily Sinaisky


This new PENTATONE release of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, op.16 and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, op.23 marks the start of the musical collaboration between the label and the young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin. Kozhukhin established himself on the international concert scene after winning prizes at the 2006 Leeds International Piano Competition, as well as the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition.

‘I am thrilled to have the opportunity to record repertoire that has played a significant part in my musical life’ says Kozhukhin about this recording, made with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, conducted by Vassily Sinaisky. Kozhukhin chose two concertos that against all odds, both turned out to become “virtuoso warhorses”. Grieg is known as a composer with a focus on the more intimate musical genres. His first attempt to compose in a more extensive musical genre, resulted in a symphony of which Grieg himself said it “should never be performed...”. His other attempt however, the Piano Concerto in A minor, brought him world-wide success. Until Tchaikovsky started writing his first piano concerto, piano music had only been of secondary interest to him. As he himself put it: “Basically, I am inflicting violence upon myself by forcing my brain to come up with piano passages”. After seeking professional advice on the composition with his friend and excellent pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, the latter basically massacred the piece and refused to première it. Fortunately Tchaikovsky then decided to dedicate it to German pianist Hans von Bülow, who later on gave it its triumphant première. Nowadays these two concertos rank among the most magical in the piano repertoire.


To call Kozhukhin a fastidious pianist is perhaps misleading – immaculate may be the better word. He never overplays and he’s no speed freak. He’s never tempted to distort a phrase in order to make a rhetorical point. Above all, he is natural, and this naturalness allows him to create an impression of unaffected simplicity and directness. Of course, this could only be achieved by deeply cultivated musical instincts and a technique as developed and varied as it is unobtrusive. His inerrant rhythmic sense is pliant yet taut; his sound unalloyed silver.  Patrick Rucker
Gramophone May 2016

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