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Huntley Dent
Fanfare, May 2017

The strengths of this new release begin with wonderfully faithful, rounded piano tone, showing not a hint of clatter. Nebolsin, whom I’d rate as perhaps the best of Naxos’s keyboard regulars, especially in Russian repertoire, backs away from barnstorming, preferring a different tactic, which is to make each phrase sound as musical as possible, but Nebolsin is exciting enough not to lapse into the staid and stolid. On the orchestral side the New Zealand Symphony under Michael Stern does a good job without anything exceptional happening.

Before citing details, these turn out to be solid performances that would be welcome in the reference section of a public library, …he’s thoroughly good. He also enjoys some outstanding moments, particularly in the extended, beautifully expressed cadenza in the first movement of the concerto. The solo violin and cello in the second movement are impeccable, too… © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, April 2017

The opening Allegro brillante is probably the work’s least convincing movement but the pianism of Eldar Nebolsin is full of fire and virtuosity and it’s very hard not be captivated and brought under his spell. This is romantic piano playing par excellence with a cracking central cadenza. Throughout this admittedly melodious and sumptuous opening movement the soloist really goes for it with a no holds barred approach and he is admirably supported by the orchestra and Michael Stern. The Andante non troppo [is] a lovely slow movement, full of rapture, poetry and a hint of melancholy and Nebolsin shows that there is more to his playing than flashy virtuosity. The partnership between soloist and orchestra is at its peak here. The concluding Allegro con fuoco sets off at one heck of a pace and the level of pianism is of the highest order. Yet again he is matched by the orchestral players who are clearly on their toes and loving every minute of it. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Hurwitz, January 2017

These performances are as lively and attractive as any on disc. …Michael Stern launches the opening movement (Allegro brilliante) with impulsive energy, and Nebolsin, a really fine pianist in romantic repertoire, attacks the music’s episodic form in the best possible way: by making you look forward to the episodes. The big central cadenza comes off particularly well; it sounds as though Nebolsin is improvising as he goes along, but always with a freshness and suppleness that makes you look forward to what’s coming next.

…Nebolsin’s sizzling fingerwork makes the music sparkle. Warm, well-balanced sonics complete this wholly attractive picture. © 2017 Read complete review

Des Hutchinson
MusicWeb International, January 2017

The recorded sound fits these performances like a glove—immaculate balance, and while the acoustic is slightly claustrophobic, it nevertheless channels all its energy and immediacy to the listener, really making you feel a guest at this Tchaikovsky party.

…if you want a goodly dose of unapologetically Tchaikovskian bliss, this is the place to go. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Patrick Rucker
Gramophone, November 2016

Throughout the concerto, as indeed in the alternately playful and wistful Concert Fantasy, Nebolsin’s unwavering focus is on the shape of the phrase, inflected with the most delicate rubato. Stern and the New Zealanders mirror this rhetorical flexibility with great skill and subtlety.

…Nebolsin’s refined and bracingly original readings of the Concerto and Fantasy complement some of the most compelling. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Alex Baran
The WholeNote, October 2016

Nebolsin is simply dancing all over the keyboard in an exhilarating romp… It’s a marvellous performance executed with intelligence and a sense of adventure. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2016

After recording the same program with Konstantin Scherbakov, Naxos gives Eldar Nebolsin the opportunity to do it again. Both performances are very good and not so different. The sound recording of the new production however is much better than the older one. © 2016 Pizzicato

Erik Levi
BBC Music Magazine, October 2016

…this latest recording offers the best of both worlds. Eldar Nebolsin yields nothing to Scherbakov in terms of brilliance of technique, but his piano tone is richer and more subtle in its variety of colour. …Throughout both works, interaction between soloist and orchestra is strongly characterised with some finely articulated woodwind playing. Indeed, …Nebolsin hardly puts a foot wrong, and Michael Stern secures rhythmically vibrant playing from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

…these piano-and-orchestra pieces belong in the collection of anyone who loves Tchaikovsky’s music, and this pairing is as fine as one as a listener is likely discover. © 2016 Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, September 2016

When this work is performed, the standard 1897 edition by Alexander Siloti is most often used, omitting Tchaikovsky’s cadenzas and the extended passages for solo violin and cello in the Andante non troppo. They are heard to delightful effect in this exciting performance by pianist Eldar Nebolsin with Michael Stern and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, …One might regard these pieces as the sunnier siblings of the Piano Concerto No 1, and their appealing melodies, brilliant keyboard writing, and optimistic moods reflect a more confident side of the composer. Yet there is plenty of drama and passion in the music, and Tchaikovsky’s intense character shows in the occasional stormy episodes. Nebolsin is energetic and sparkling in the Concerto, most of all in the dazzling third movement, and he indulges in light and lively exchanges with the orchestra in the Concert Fantasia. © 2016 Read complete review

Gavin Engelbrecht
The Northern Echo, September 2016

Tchikovsky has long maintained his position as among the most popular of all composers, his unequalled gift for melody and colourful orchestration given added depth through a rich Russian soulfulness. The Second Piano Concerto has always lived under the shadow of the famous First but, played here in the composer’s original version, full of life-enhancing character and emotion. The album, rounded off with the Concert Fantasia, features sterling playing by pianist Eldar Nebolsin, with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. © 2016 The Northern Echo

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2016

Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto has always lived under the shadow of the famous First but, played here in the composer’s original version, is full of life-enhancing character and emotion. Both this and the Concert Fantasy also contain beautiful chamber music sections allowing unique interaction between soloist and orchestra. © 2016 WFMT (Chicago)

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2016

If Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto had engendered criticism from those around him, the Second suffered even more so, the final printed score in a version by Siloti. It appeared after the composer’s death with the cuts and changes of the well-meaning work by his pupil, Alexandr Siloti, and it was this score that was used in every performance until the second half of the 20th century when pianists began to re-examine the original and much longer score. In that guise, it is now finding a place in the standard repertoire, the greatest crime Siloti perpetrated being the removal of the extended role for solo violin and cello in the second movement, robbing us of some of Tchaikovsky’s most beautiful music. Completed three years later, the Concert Fantasia had a much less traumatic birth, though its length is a little short to find a convenient place in modern concert hall programmes. On disc, it has an occasional airing as a partner to either of the two concertos, this being the third version that Naxos has released with this coupling. Featuring the Uzbek-born award-winning pianist, Eldar Nebolsin, I have much enjoyed his performances that eschew outgoing virtuosity as he looks to be an unassuming transmitter of the printed score. Technically he is immaculate, and without drawing attention to the many challenges, he handles them all with ease, the epic cadenzas being second to none. I also love the crystalline quality of fast running passages that remind me of the performances by the legendary Shura Cherkassky. It is very remiss of Naxos not to credit the names of the excellent solo violin and cello in the concerto, the New Zealand Orchestra with the American conductor, Michael Stern, turning in feisty support, though I miss that sense of spine-tingling excitement in his direction. The sound quality is reliable. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

Ritmo, September 2016

No less beautiful than the first piano concerto of Tchaikovsky, his second one is longed with plenty of good melodies. © 2016 Ritmo

David Mellor
Classic FM, July 2016

…this performance, where Nebolsin is accompanied by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Stern, is given complete, and lasts almost 43 minutes. This CD is a real winner, not just for Nebolsin’s playing, but because of the addition of the totally overlooked Concert Fantasia. © 2016 Classic FM Read complete review

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