Prokofiev: Symphony No 5/ Piano Concerto No 3
Some time ago I reviewed a disc by the Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, and expressed doubt about the quality of what I heard. This was sacrilege: for many music fans, Gergiev is a god-like figure among conductors. But I have the same sense of unease on listening to the latest issue from the team. The surfaces of Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto and Fifth Symphony are polished and gleaming: no-one could charge the Mariinsky Orchestra with anything less. But there is a lack of perspective in the reading, a lack of depth and variety in the colouring, and while there is great power and clarity in Denis Matsuev's playing of the concerto, the whole thing is a bit flash. It doesn't feel as if it has been carefully thought through; rather more that it was chucked together. This all needs to be discussed later in a broader consideration: there is a tonne of new Prokofiev recordings out, some of them really important. However, I'm not convinced this is one of them.