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Prom 14, Royal Albert Hall, review: Valery Gergiev's Prokofiev splurge has highs and lows

07.30.15
Sergei Babayan, Daniil Trifonov
The Independent

Two days previously at the Verbier festival we had seen Trifonov and his professor Sergei Babayan give a wonderfully poised account of Rachmaninov’s four-hand suites: now Babayan followed his pupil by playing Prokofiev’s second concerto. And while Trifonov had seemed like a bird in flight, Babayan exuded the gravity of a monumental sculpture in bronze, as he teased out the beauties of this more ruminative work.

Trifonov came back to give an enchanting account of the third concerto – the one everybody loves – after which Alexei Volodin officiated with the fourth, a left-hand extravaganza composed for the one-armed, war-wounded Paul Wittgenstein. But despite Volodin’s heroic efforts, one could see why Wittgenstein never wanted to play it: both this work and the fifth concerto (played by Babayan) gave the impression of a composer whose Muse had deserted him. 

Read the rest of the review here