Works by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Liszt, Chopin, and Scriabin
Yevgeny Kissin is a 19-year-old wunderkind from Soviet Russia who is that rarity, a young artist who measures up to his already formidable reputation. The Moscow-born Kissin made his hometown debut at 12, playing both the Chopin piano concertos, and he has never looked back. This recital disc, recorded live in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, dates from December 1987.
It’s easy to hear what all the shouting is about. Kissing has a big technique, plenty of fire, and — but let’s forget about the boilerplate critical encomiums. The point is simply that, like his fellow Slavic pianist Krystian Zimerman, Kissin plays with the passion of a young man and the taste of an old one. The Chopin F-sharp Minor Polonaise surges and sparkles; the Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 6 is an explosion in a tractor factory; a Scriabin mazurka (E minor, Op. 25, No. 3, for those of you keeping score at home) is a moment of repose. Only in the three encores — negligible arrangements of two Japanese melodies and an English folk song — is Kissin unconvincing. Overall, though, this is a brilliant disc, the way the piano out to be played. A