Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Piano Concerto No. 2 - Vassily Primakov, piano/Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Thomas Søndergǻrd;
Bel Canto, Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin;
Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean,Mikko Luoma accordion/iO String Quartet

Bridge Records 9336

This release "Music of Poul Ruders, Vol. 6" features two musicians championed by Bridge, the prolific Danish composer Poul Ruders and virtuoso Russian pianist Vassily Primakov, in a disparate compilation of music by the eclectic Ruders.

Possibly best, and certainly least problematic, is Bel Canto, the set piece for the 2004 Carl Nielsen Violin Competition, sensitively played here by a seasoned professional, but better to have taken the competition winner's account of it, which would have encouraged its wider dissemination amongst violin students?

Hard to imagine the effect of Ruders' 2nd piano concerto in concert. On record, carefully balanced, Primakov's refined playing of the quieter music - some of it deliberately "like a child practising" - is fine, but the bravura passages scarcely vindicate the plan for a "full scale utterance in the grandest tradition of the concerto genre". Interesting to hear, and played with Primakov's super-subtlety noted in Arlene Sierra and Rachmaninov.

Most interesting is a large collection of nine pieces for accordion & string quartet [33 mins], dedicated to our RAM's Owen Murray, which would lend themselves to excerpting in concert.

The intriguing possibilities of this uncommon combination (c.f. Pintscher's quintet) are explored generously in pieces with cosmic references, and which explore especially the highest register and, without electronics, are far more satsfying than Fedele's Capt-Actions.

Peter Grahame Woolf