Gifted But Green: More Chopin From Daniil Trifonov

Review by: Jed Distler


Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 9

Sandwiched between Daniil Trifonov’s Decca solo Chopin recital and an upcoming Carnegie Hall debut recital release on DG comes an all-Chopin disc from Dux featuring the E minor concerto in a reduced orchestration for strings only. You wonder if the sometimes mincing string vibrato aims to compensate for the missing first-desk wind soloists. Trifonov’s tendency to round off phrases and hesitate before climaxes conveys a primarily lyrical approach lacking in rhythmic vitality and note-to-note continuity. By contrast, the pianist’s shapeless Barcarolle alternates between static languor and pushing ahead at seemingly arbitrary moments, such as in the lurching coda.

In the First and Second Impromptus Trifonov’s right-hand melody diminuendos often render the notes at the ends of certain phrases indistinct, although the A-flat major’s middle section features supple and appreciably varied articulation, while the F-sharp major’s central march-like episode pounds away with little subtlety. Trifonov’s Tarantella attempts to outdo Alfred Cortot in the inner voice department, but fails to maintain a basic reference pulse (the gauche acceleration of the main theme upon its return, for example). Given Trifonov’s immense potential, this release should have been better.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Piano Concerto No. 1: Argerich/Dutoit (EMI), Rubinstein/Skrowaczewski (RCA); Impromptus: Wild (Ivory Classics); Barcarolle: Rubinstein (RCA), Perahia (Sony)

    Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11; Impromptus Nos. 1 & 2; Tarantella in A-flat Op. 43; Barcarolle in F-sharp Op. 60

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