Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 16; Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 22

Reviewed on Wed 14 Oct, 2015

Vadym Kholodenko (2013 Cliburn Gold Medalist) conjures a likeable warmth from his instrument, which is never harsh; his phrasing is affectionate without becoming mawkish; and his technical armoury is well-nigh infallible.

These are persuasive, personable performances of two much-loved piano concertos. Vadym Kholodenko (2013 Cliburn Gold Medalist) conjures a likeable warmth from his instrument, which is never harsh; his phrasing is affectionate without becoming mawkish; and his technical armoury is well-nigh infallible. The Grieg comes across as newly minted, with no tricks needed to keep it interesting. The accompaniment is well-prepared and attentive, although the orchestra is a little dry and colourless at times, not least the strings in the slow movement, possibly a consequence of post-production. Kholodenko goes on to give a sensitive yet imposing account of Saint-Saëns’s always-welcome Piano Concerto No 2 – from Bachian majesty to a freewheeling finale via the central movement’s witty sparkle, here brought off lucidly with a light touch if not the greatest humour. As recommendable as this release is, it should be remembered that Howard Shelley has recorded these works, plus the Schumann Concerto, for Chandos.
–Colin Anderson