Scriabin: Symphony No 2 in C minor, Op 29; Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op 20

Reviewed on Fri 15 Dec, 2017

Scriabin fans will need to invest in this issue for Vasily Petrenko's truly marvellous account of the five-movement Second Symphony (1901).

Thrilling orchestral playing from the Oslo Philharmonic under its dynamic Russian chief – gloriously articulate, finely nuanced and keenly disciplined. Scriabin fans will need to invest in this issue for Vasily Petrenko's truly marvellous account of the five-movement Second Symphony (1901), a conception notable for its cumulative clout, high drama, poetic sensibility, enviable tastefulness, frequently revelatory transparency and tingling concentration. Remarkably, the Andante centrepiece clocks in at 18 minutes (Gergiev and the LSO get through it in just under 12) but such is its all-pervading sense of pantheistic wonder, rapt beauty (there's a meltingly lovely contribution from the principal clarinet) and Petrenko's hypnotic control that one listens utterly spellbound. The performance of the gorgeous Piano Concerto (1896) is only marginally less satisfying, but here, too, there's heaps to admire in Kirill Gerstein's nimble pianism and Petrenko's superbly judged support (the felicitous central theme and variations go especially well). Featuring demonstration-worthy sonics from Arne Akselberg under the painstaking production of John Fraser, this is unquestionably one the most exciting releases I've heard all year.
–Andrew Achenbach