Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013
Lang Lang, Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker: Prokofiev 3 Bartók 2 (Sony Classical)
The recorded work of the great classical composers has been issued in such profusion that the market became depressed. One way the labels address that challenge is to bring big names together on recording sessions. Such was the strategy of this studio album. Pianist Lang Lang takes the spotlight as conductor Simon Rattle waves his wand over the Berliner Philharmoniker for a pair of estimable compositions from the early-20th century. Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Bela Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 represented the romanticism of the 19th century encountering a new world, albeit Bartók delved more deeply into modernism from his Eastern European base than Prokofiev did on his No. 2. Both Prokofiev and Bartók were outstanding pianists as well as composers, and their music for piano sets a high hurdle Lang leaps for with great success.