Judging from his recordings of two of these works, it seems likely that Matsuev will repeat his Mariinsky success as a solo performer. His Appassionata scowls, squalls, and storms in the opening movement, sings a hymn of love and peace in the central movement, and rides hell-bent for glory in the closing movement. Matsuev is plainly playing for the last row of the last balcony, but since Beethoven is, too, it's absolutely appropriate.
The Three Movements from Petrouchka ought to bring down the house. Transcribed for solo piano by Stravinsky from his ballet for Arthur Rubinstein--who famously complained it was too difficult and declined to perform it--the Three Movements are indeed transcendentally intractable, and only the greatest pianists have had the guts to essay it. In his recording, Matsuev plays with unerring accuracy, unnerving energy, and unrivalled intensity. If his performance here is as good, only In the Hall of the Mountain King could serve as an encore.
[Originally published in January, 2012.]
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