The Perspectives Series, produced through Carnegie Hall, each year selects musicians to create concert sets that focus on some aspect of their musicianship and interests. It is not surprising that pianist Yefim Bronfman would choose literature from late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian composers. Despite his far-reaching repertoire, Bronfman has always found a particular niche with this repertoire, in particular the works of Prokofiev
. The first album of this two-disc set is, in fact, devoted to Prokofiev's first three piano concertos, works composed while still a young man. The technical and musical demands of all three concertos are astounding, but Bronfman and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
deliver performances that feature dazzling pyrotechnics, Herculean quantities of sound drawn from the piano, and musical introspection with which few performers may compete. The second disc in the set focuses on works for solo piano. Opening with three movements from "Petrushka," Bronfman pulls abundant sound and nuance from his instrument that is every bit as deep and satisfying as an orchestral performance of the piece. Prokofiev's "First" and "Seventh" piano sonatas show the transformation of the composer from a young man to a seasoned veteran; both phases of the composer's life are captured through Bronfman's energy and attention to detail. Four selections from Tchaikovsky
's "The Seasons" demonstrate that Bronfman does not need high technical demands in order to produce intimate musical landscapes. Worthwhile for the recordings of the Prokofiev concertos alone, this album is a worthy addition to almost any collection.