Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos
Recorded live at the 2006 Beethovenfest, the Russian National Orchestra shows the same dark fire as in the recent symphony recordings and Pletnev dazzles, delights and — most important — convinces totally.
[These recordings] display both Pletnev's astonishing technique and incredible musical imagination at every turn.... Pletnev often plays with a Haydnesque lightness and humour that allows us to hear all the detail elsewhere. It's still a performance that's full of surprises as are his versions of the other concertos: Pletnev is light and skittish when one might expect him to be strong and robust... or heavy-handed when one would expect delicacy.... So although Pletnev infuriates in places, he is never dull. Under Christian Gansch the Russian National Orchestra play like a chamber orchestra, with delicacy and lyricism and their mellow wind section is balanced noticeably more sympathetically.... Pletnev seems to be in a category of his own and, love it or loathe it, I feel anyone interested in these works should hear him.