PianOrchestra - Poizat
Ars Produktion ARS 38 139
Classical - Instrumental
Franz Liszt (1811-1886): Mephisto Waltz No. 1, S.514
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971): Three movements from Petrushka (1921)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): The Nutcracker, Ballet Suite, Op 71a (1892) arr. for piano by Mikhail Pletnev; Symphony No. 6 - Scherzo arr for piano by Samuel Feinberg
Georges Bizet (1838-1875): Carmen (1875), Entr'acte from 3 Act arr. Arcadi Volodos
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Review by John Broggio - August 27, 2013
An extraordinary disc of playing from beginning to end.
In Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1, Poizat can never be thought to be pulling his punches; the title of the disc is immediately apparent for he plays with a vigour that is too rarely heard from orchestras tackling the same work. There is lyricism aplenty too and Poizat makes as much from the rhapsodic elements as he does in the more openly virtuoso passages. Turning to Stravinsky's 3 movements from Petrushka, here Poizat is more brusque and less suave than, say, Kempf (Rachmaninov, Bach-Busoni, Ravel, Stravinsky - Kempf) but this might be thought to be more in keeping with the style one might imagine for a puppet; it is not as obviously winning as his Liszt and is arguably the weakest link (as far as performance goes) on the disc. That said, the Stravinsky is still enjoyable and Poizat manages to convey the difficulty without sounding at all as if he is struggling to overcome the many difficulties.
The heart of the disc belongs to Tchaikovsky, specifically Pletnev's magical arrangement of a suite from The Nutcracker. The glowing, song-like quality of Poizat's playing is a joy to the ear & soul in equal measure and the sheer virtuosity is staggering. Naturally, Pletnev's own account retains a special place in anyone's collection but Poizat belongs in the same category of playing; very impressive indeed. The other Tchaikovsky, the scherzo from Symphony No. 6 (arranged by Feinberg) is perhaps the least successful transcription; despite Poizat clearly holding nothing back (nor his Steinway), there is a limit to how much of the huge forces of the scherzo can be conveyed with just 2 hands. Poizat does his level best but one wonders if an alternative arrangement might have better fitted the level of the remaining works. As an encore that throws itself away, Volodos' treatment of the 3rd act Entr'acte in Bizet's Carmen is played as though it was a mere bagatelle; wonderful insouciance from Poizat that is completely disarming.
All this majestic playing would count for little were the recording of Poizat's playing sub-standard. Fortunately for us, the Steinway is captured wonderfully, if not with slightly more than normal resonance, and one could hope for nothing more than a follow-up disc along similar lines.
Very highly recommended.
Copyright © 2013 John Broggio and HRAudio.net