Gergiev leads a ravishing Rachmaninov

Denis Matsuev on piano accompanies the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre for a stunning performance of Rachmaninov works

Composer: Rachmaninov
Repertoire: Piano Concerto No.3, et al 
Artists: Denis Matsuev (piano), Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre/Valery Gergiev
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: Mariinsky MAR 0505

After a stately start and with the piano worryingly over-lit, the Concerto builds into a magnificent performance. The longer, more taxing version of the first movement cadenza has rarely been more thrillingly captured on disc, but the slow movement shows that Matsuev can also swoon with lyrical grace. The Finale is tremendous, though, with a cut of 13 bars in the middle section. In the ‘Paganini’ Rhapsody, Gergiev is more intent on highlighting orchestral detail. Matsuev simply flies, yet pauses to introduce the famous 18th Variation with touching simplicity. The final variations, taken at daring tempos, will blow your socks off.