This album follows up Krystian Zimerman and Sir Simon Rattle’s award winning DG recording of Brahm’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto, written in 1988, is dedicated to Krystian Zimerman and was presented by him the first time to audiences in Salzburg in the same year.
The piece features extremely virtuosic demands, its dense pianistic gestures at times recall the piano concertos of Bartók and Prokofiev. The Symphony No. 2, created with techniques of “limited aleatoricism” (Lutosławski), fascinates with its orchestral surfaces that offer an insight into their creator’s ability to organize sounds in a very precise way and their iridescent and colorful vitality.
“Rattle has always been a passionate Lutoslawskian, and his Berliners enjoyed a close relationship with the composer, who recorded his most important orchestral scores with them. The symphony, a dark, brooding work from 1967, has flashes of brilliance in the orchestral writing, which could hardly be better played and conducted today.” Sunday Times, 2nd August 2015
“Zimerman has continued to perform the concerto regularly, living with it, refining his interpretation. The piano part was always perfectly tailored to his supreme technique...the Berlin Philharmonic’s realisation of the flickering, glinting orchestral writing is just as meticulously detailed as the jewel-like precision of the piano playing.” The Guardian, 5th August 2015 *****
“Zimerman injects both delicacy and virtuosity into the dialogue with Simon Rattle's orchestra, and also holds the key, as probably only a Pole could do, to the serious yet wistful undercurrents of this work. Yet Rattle's own input is distinguished…and who better to summon up [the warmth of the work] than the luxurious-sounding Berliners?” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015
“you only have to listen to the Second Symphony’s accelerating terror and cataclysmic climax — particularly as Rattle and the Berliners do it — to realise that Lutoslawski poured much more into his composition than excellent craftsmanship...Zimerman virtually owns [the Piano Concerto]: he premiered it, and recorded it with the composer conducting. Here he finds an even greater profundity.” The Times, 14th August 2015 *****
“Elusive and restless, Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto is like a siren luring the inquisitive listener. Nothing is obvious in this airborne music, as its ideas gather and disperse at speed, like swarming insects, only touching the ground in the last few minutes.Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic are inspiring interpreters and the music takes wing.” Financial Times, 14th August 2015 *****
“Partnered with exemplary polish and unstinting dedication by Rattle and the Berliners, Zimerman is at his patrician, dazzingly articulate best, locating even greater reserves of concentration and rapt hush than previously in the slow movement…[the Second Symphony is] delivered with riveting technical mastery here…a very fine issue” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015