Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos
[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.
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.