Winner of the coveted gold medal and all special prizes at the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013, Vadym Kholodenko http://vadymkholodenko.com is forging an international career throughout Europe, Asia, and North America to great acclaim. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, he studied at Kiev’s Mykola Lysenko Special Music School under Natalia Grydneva and Borys Fedorov. He made his first appearances in the United States, China, Hungary and Croatia at the age of 13. In 2005, he moved to Moscow to study at the Moscow State Conservatoire with Vera Gornostaeva. Under her tutelage, he won top prizes at the 2011 Schubert, 2010 Sendai, and 2010 Maria Callas International Piano Competitions. He currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas.
Vadym Kholodenko’s previous two releases for Harmonia Mundi http://store.harmoniamundi.com have been enthusiastically received. Now Harmonia Mundi have issued his live recordings of Prokofiev Piano Concertos No’s 2 and 5 with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra www.fwsymphony.org under their music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya http://miguelharth-bedoya.com
Right from the nicely phrased orchestral introduction to the Andantino – Allegretto of Sergei Prokofiev’s (1891-1953) Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op.16 (1913) it is clear that much care and thought has gone into this performance. Vadym Kholodenko brings a nicely paced breadth to the piano part with Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra developing some fine moments. Soon finding Prokofiev’s spiky rhythmic quality they build this movement slowly and subtly. There is no barnstorming here. Kholodenko’s technique and phrasing bring a great clarity. He is not afraid to slow down and find a mystery and poetry often ridden roughshod over by others. His approach reveals much that is often lost in more overtly virtuosic performances. He ensures that the bolder, more dynamic passages receive due weight bringing a restrained virtuosity of his own. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra add some powerful passages as the coda is reached.
There is a terrific freedom of rhythmic flow from this pianist as he hurtles around the keyboard in the Scherzo: Vivace, sustaining a constant forward drive in a formidable demonstration of his pianistic agility. Harth-Bedoya and his Fort Worth players bring a tremendous weight to the opening bars of the Intermezzo: Allegro moderato. When Kholodenko enters he adds a fine breadth to the chords, building again with a fine subtlety as Prokofiev’s clipped phrases appear. There are some lovely little moments as he shapes various phrases as well as some superbly phrased rhythmic passages, developing with increasing weight from both soloist and orchestra.
When Kholodenko and the orchestra arrive at the Finale: Allegro tempestoso they find the force and drive that they have been carefully heading towards all through. There are some well thought out quieter, reflective moments with this pianist and conductor pacing the development of the finale superbly. The cadenza is equally well thought out displaying a terrific breadth, finely phrased and rising through some wonderfully fluent passages. When the orchestra rejoin they move through some particularly powerful passages, though always with an ear to the poetic, before finding a terrific impetus as they move quickly to the coda.
This is a really musical performance that is all the more revealing for its carefully restrained virtuosity.
During his final illness, Prokofiev insisted on dictating a list of seven final works to complete his catalogue of opus numbers, showing that the creative spark was there to the end. His projected Op. 133 was to be Concerto No.6 for two pianos and orchestra in three movements. Alas it was never written as were not the other six works. Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.5 in G major, Op.55 (1932) is, therefore, his final essay in the medium.
Vadym Kholodenko brings a very fine rhythmic, spiky quality to Allegro con brio with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra bringing a fine sweep, revealing the composer’s two sides, the lyrical and the brittle. The ability of this partnership to build a carefully constructed whole is again evident. Throughout all of Prokofiev’s changing ideas they never allow the music to meander, building to a forceful coda.
There is a finely accented opening to the Moderato ben accentuate before finding a jaunty flow. There are some terrific moments from this pianist as he provides some fine pianistic flourishes, a lovely fluency, subtly letting the opening rhythmic stance return with a jazz like freedom.
The Toccata: Allegro con fuoco brings some formidable passages as it delivers an unstoppable forward propulsion before a beautifully languid Larghetto from Kholodenko and the orchestra. They move through some lovely fluid passages, rising in drama, this pianist making more sense of Prokofiev’s sprawling creation than many. He finds an impressive strength as the music develops as well as passages of crystalline beauty before a particularly lovely coda.
The rhythms of the Vivo are well handled as soloist and orchestra seem to chase each other with some spectacularly fine playing from this pianist, finely supported by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The strange central section brings a magical moment before dashing to a great coda.
This is an impressive release from this partnership. Fortunately there is a recording of Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos 1, 3 and 4 in preparation.
The SACD recording from the Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, Texas is first rate and there are informative booklet notes