Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2 & 4

Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2 & 4

Alexander Gavrylyuk / Sydney Symphony

Label: Triton (JP)
Format: SACD
Barcode: 4526977050443
Catalog number: EXCL 44
Releasedate: 29-10-10
According to panist Alexander Gavrylyuk it is all about not only playing the notes themselves but totally becoming the notes. The art is to penetrate in such a way the essence of the score, that you emotionally become one with the music you play. This is exactly what the young pianist does, together with Prokofiev-connaisseur Vladimir Ashkenazy and his orchestra.
  • In 2005 Gavrylyuk breaks through internationally when he receives a Golden Medal in the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv
  • Ashkenazy knows Prokofiev and this piano repertoire to the core and now he has taken up the baton for a performance of these works
  • Alexander Gavrylyuk has the ability to play delicate as well as powerful; he is a true masterpianist
  • Hybrid (CD SACD 2ch)
  • Live & session recording series of Sydney Symphony and Mr. Ashkenazy's "Composer Festival", featuring Prokofiev in 2009
Three piano concertos of Sergei Prokofiev on this new CD.
This is the third live & session recording series of Sydney Symphony and Mr. Ashkenazy's "Composer Festival", featuring Prokofiev in 2009, following Rachmaninov (2007) and Elgar (2008). This Prokofiev series also includes complete piano concertos with Russian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk.

Prokofiev set about composing his Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1911 and in 1912 the work was finished. It is a one-movement concerto, and lasts around 16 and a half minute in the interpretation of Gavrylyuk/Ashkenazy.

In the same year 1912 Sergei Prokofiev began to work out his Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16 which was completed in 1913. He himself performed this as a solo pianist, at the premiere  on August 23 in 1913. The concerto has quite a temperament and some people in the audience were taken by it and others firmly opposed to its modernistic sound. Nowadays people recognize it as the masterpiece which it is.

Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 4 in B-flat major for the left hand, Op. 53, was commissioned by the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein and completed in 1931.

At his graduation competition, Prokofiev performed his first piano concerto because he figured he had a better chance of winning if the judges didn’t know the music (he was right!). In this program of the festival, Alexander Gavrylyuk takes the spotlight to perform this dazzling, bravura work. (source: Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Underneath Prokofiev’s cheeky wit, sarcasm and brilliance was a romantic soul, which audiences will discover in his Third Piano Concerto the romantic Prokofiev shines through when Alexander Gavrylyuk joins Ashkenazy and the Sydney Symphony. Prokofiev was capable of lyrical and irresistible melodies. (source: Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

“In the end, he (Prokofiev) was just another human being who tried to express this in his music” - Vladimir Ashkenazy
Alexander Gavrylyuk began his piano studies at the age of seven and gave his first concerto performance when he was nine years old. The next big step for Alexander was going to compete at the 3rd Horowitz International Piano Competition and winning the coveted First prize and Gold medal in 1999. Alexander Gavrylyuk was proclaimed as "the best sixteen year old pianist of the late twentieth century" by critics in Japan in November 2000, after winning the First Prize of the prestigious Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan. He was 16 years old in a field of competitors ranging in age from 16 to 32. Alexander returns regularly to Japan, touring and performing to a full house in Suntory Hall and Tokyo Opera City Hall. His first two CD's were recorded in Japan. In 2003 he joined the honour roll and became a Steinway artist. Alexander performs regularly at the Royal Concertgebouw, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Hall, Lincoln Center, Sydney Opera House and Suntary Hall.  He has also performed a solo recital at the Kremlin. In April 2005, Alexander Gavrylyuk won the First Prize, the Gold Medal as well as the award for Best Performance of a Classical Concerto at the internationally renowned Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition. That same year, VAI International recorded his live performance at the Miami Piano Discoveries Festival, USA, for an international DVD release which went on to receive four and five star ratings in the international press. In May 2007 he recorded his second DVD with VAI. In 2009 Alexander recorded the complete Prokofiev Concerti with Vladirmir Ashkenazy and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Amongst others, Alexander Gavrylyuk has performed with the Russian National Orchestra, the Russian Natioal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and OFUNAM. He has worked with conductors like Ashkenazy, Blomstedt, Caetani, Ettinger, Fedoseyev, Gruppman, Lazarev, Lang-Lessing, Pletnev, Raiskin, Sanderling, Segerstam, Simonov, Soudant, Spivakov, Talmi and Tovey.

Alexander Gavrylyuk recent engagements include concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Holywood Bowl, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana at the Lugano Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris. 2010 will take Alexander to Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, USA, Poland, Russia and Taiwan.

Vladimir Ashkenazy
Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor
In the years since Vladimir Ashkenazy first came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw he has built an extraordinary career, not only as one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times, but as an inspiring artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities.
Conducting has formed the largest part of his music-making for the past 20 years. He has been Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic (1998–2003), and Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo (2004–2007). Since 2009 he has held the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Sydney Symphony.
Alongside these roles, Vladimir Ashkenazy is also Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he has developed landmark projects such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin (a project which he toured and later developed into a TV documentary) and Rachmaninoff Revisited at the Lincoln Center, New York.
He also holds the positions of Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He maintains strong links with a number of other major orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra (where he was formerly Principal Guest Conductor), San Francisco Symphony, and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin (Chief Conductor and Music Director, 1988¬–96), as well as making guest appearances with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic.
Vladimir Ashkenazy continues to devote himself to the piano, building his comprehensive recording catalogue with releases such as the 1999 Grammy award-winning Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues, Rautavaara’s Piano Concerto No.3 (which he commissioned), Rachmaninoff transcriptions, Bach’s Wohltemperierte Klavier and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Last year he released a disc of French piano duo works with Vovka Ashkenazy.
A regular visitor to Sydney over many years, he has conducted subscription concerts and composer festivals for the Sydney Symphony, with his five-program Rachmaninoff festival forming a highlight of the 75th Anniversary Season in 2007. Vladimir Ashkenazy’s artistic role with the Sydney Symphony includes collaborations on composer festivals, recording projects and international touring.

Sydney Symphony
Vladimir Ashkenazy, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor
Founded in 1932 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Sydney Symphony has evolved into one of the world’s finest orchestras as Sydney has become one of the world’s great cities.
Resident at the iconic Sydney Opera House, where it gives more than 100 performances each year, the Sydney Symphony also performs in venues throughout Sydney and regional New South Wales. International tours to Europe, Asia and the USA have earned the orchestra world-wide recognition for artistic excellence, and in 2009 it made its first tour to mainland Asia.
The Sydney Symphony’s first Chief Conductor was Sir Eugene Goossens, appointed in 1947; he was followed by Nicolai Malko, Dean Dixon, Moshe Atzmon, Willem van Otterloo, Louis Frémaux, Sir Charles Mackerras, Zdenek Mácal, Stuart Challender, Edo de Waart and, most recently, Gianluigi Gelmetti. The orchestra’s history also boasts collaborations with legendary figures such as George Szell, Sir Thomas Beecham, Otto Klemperer and Igor Stravinsky.
The Sydney Symphony’s award-winning education program is central to its commitment to the future of live symphonic music, developing audiences and engaging the participation of young people. The Sydney Symphony promotes the work of Australian composers through performances, recordings and its commissioning program. Recent premieres have included major works by Ross Edwards, Liza Lim, Lee Bracegirdle and Georges Lentz, and the orchestra’s recording of works by Brett Dean was released on both the BIS and Sydney Symphony Live labels.
Other releases on the Sydney Symphony Live label, established in 2006, include performances with Alexander Lazarev, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Sir Charles Mackerras and Vladimir Ashkenazy. The Sydney Symphony has also released recordings with Ashkenazy of Rachmaninoff and Elgar orchestral works on the Octavia label, and numerous recordings on the ABC Classics label.
This is the second year of Ashkenazy’s tenure as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor.