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Prokofiev: Sarcasms; Visions Fugitives / Steven Osborne, piano

Album Summary

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an exhibition
>Prokofiev, Sergei : Sarcasms (5) for Piano, Op. 17
>Prokofiev, Sergei : Visions fugitives (20) for Piano, Op. 22
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Steven Osborne is one of the finest pianists recording today. His recent release of Rachmaninov's Preludes was critically acclaimed as the greatest modern version since Ashkenazy. Now he turns to further cornerstones of the Russian repertoire with this recording of Mussorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition (a work that has been in Osborne's concert repertoire for many years), coupled with two sets of Prokofiev's miniatures. Mussorgsky's masterpiece is one of the most popular programmatic works of the 19th century as well as a great pianistic challenge. Prokofiev's delightful Sarcasms and Visions fugitives are performed with Osborne's subtle, yet brilliant use of color, exploring moods ranging from the mystical to the grotesque.

The Guardian, 31st January 2013
He paces Mussorgsky's great suite faultlessly, never forcing anything, but ratcheting up the excitement notch by notch until it's all discharged in a sumptuous account of the final Great Gate of Kiev...Osborne is suitably laconic and severe in the Sarcasms, gentler and more suggestive in the Visions Fugitives; both are beautifully judged.

The Telegraph, 1st February 2013
Osborne strides out with healthy determination in the opening Promenade, and then gives a superb performance that shows how atmospheric Musorgsky's maverick piano writing can be...Osborne has the sensitivity and inspiration, not to mention the pianistic resources, to bring each of the pictures to life in a way that has palpable perspective and subtle characterisation.

Sunday Times, 17th February 2013
The great virtue of Osborne's magisterial performance is that you never miss the orchestral upholstery - he conceives the work in quasi-orchestral terms, lavishing an astounding palette of colour and moods on the various pieces...The experimental Prokofiev pieces, Visions fugitives and Sarcasms, are dazzlingly done.

BBC Music Magazine, March 2013
Throughout this enthralling and warmly recorded performance, Osborne maximises colour and atmosphere, yet manages to achieve a freshness of approach without recourse to idiosyncratic mannerisms. Every movement is brilliantly characterised as a result of Osborne's imaginative approach to keyboard texture.

Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 19th February 2013
Osborne's sensitive, dynamic recording is a joy...He gives us elegantly arched and flowing phrases, an effortless handle on the many virtuosic demands, and a nuanced, sympathetic touch that produces deft, light vivaciousness one moment and firm sobriety the next...In short, the beauty and variety of Mussorgsky's Pictures are presented in all their glory here.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2013
Here, once more, is an ideal blend of fidelity to the score, with a subtle and distinctive rather than overbearing musical personality. In the Musorgsky everything is as musicianly as it is technically immaculate....in the more weighty numbers, there is power without brutality so that what so easily degenerates into a mere uproar is so finely graded that you forget the essentially percussive nature of the writing.

The Times, 25th January 2013
Resplendently startling, cobwebs blown off...From the beginning you sense Osborne's dynamism and fresh imagination: I can't recall when I last heard the introductory Promenade sound so purposeful. But the best jewels reside in the picture segments themselves...the technical challenges of the cycle's last movements (Catacombs, Great Gate of Kiev and all) bring plenty of virtuoso excitements, vividly captured in the recording.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Henry Wood Hall, London (12/17/2011-12/20/2011); Henry Wood Hall, London (2011-12-17_2011-12-18&2011-).



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Works Details

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an exhibition
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (2011-12-17_2011-12-18&2011-)
  • Running Time: 32 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Sarcasms (5) for Piano, Op. 17
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (2011-12-17_2011-12-18&2011-)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1912-1914

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Visions fugitives (20) for Piano, Op. 22
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (2011-12-17_2011-12-18&2011-)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1915-1917