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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, March 2017

There is no question that the pianism of Olli Mustonen divides music lovers sharply. He achieves a dry, percussive sound, and any temptation to employ a legato is largely ignored. His technique is extraordinary enough to allow him to vary dynamic shading within a single short phrase, and to emphasize random accompaniment figures or even single notes—all of which he does in an idiosyncratic, capricious way.

On the other hand, Mustonen’s impulsive, light-fingered approach suits Prokofiev perfectly in many places. In the solo following the opening of the First Concerto, Mustonen truly evokes the ironic, cheeky, confronting enfant terrible who composed this work specifically to shock and impress his superiors. Similarly, the pianist’s calculated spontaneity (if I may put it that way) allows him to characterize each variation in the Third’s central movement with singular clarity. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, January 2017

This is Prokofiev with a difference, thoughtful and provocative, but all in a good way. Mustonen’s horror of the sustain pedal and his “Glenn Gould on steroids” detaché articulation make his instrument sound almost like a fortepiano—that is until the big moments require some concert grand pounding. This, combined with careful attention to dynamics, close cooperation with the orchestra, and distinctive phrasing, really makes you listen with new ears.

Hannu Lintu also deserves a great deal of credit for accompaniments that seem as well planned and characterfully projected as the solos. © 2017 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Stephen Wright
American Record Guide, January 2017

This is very stimulating—not the sort of thing you can ignore while reading or cleaning the house. Little details and idiosyncrasies keep grabbing your attention. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, January 2017

Mustonen’s pointed secco playing is quite appealing, and Lintu makes no missteps. There is nothing unusual in tempo, dynamics, or overall impression. The soloist is capable of creating touches of mystery and whimsy… © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Steven Kruger
Fanfare, January 2017

This is the most beautiful Prokofiev piano concerto CD I have ever heard.

…beautifully burnished piano tone, each note delicate, and a creamy orchestra playing with utter clarity. …Throw in Ondine’s wonderful sound and the Finnish Radio Orchestra’s cat’s-paw clarinet, and all competition seems to fall away.

From the top—this is as wonderful as it gets. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2016

Hannu Lintu provides excellent support for Mustonen and the Finnish RSO plays Prokofiev as well as most of the better Russian orchestras. © 2016 Classical Net Read complete review




Alain Steffen
Pizzicato, December 2016

Here we have virtuoso, playful and light accounts of Prokofiev’s Piano Concertos, very different from the versions played by Russian pianists. Very enjoyable! © 2016 Pizzicato




Rebecca Franks
BBC Music Magazine, October 2016

Olli Mustonen plays with bags of energy and vigour, matched by the orchestra and conductor. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2016

The booklet notes that accompany this disc repeat Olli Mustonen’s deeply held conviction that each performance ‘must have the freshness of a first performance’. He certainly keeps faith with that objective in the opening pages of the Third Concerto, making clear that this will not become the barnstorming account to which have become accustomed, the reading more akin to chamber music. That imparts a transparent quality to the orchestral part, Mustonen avoiding the usual pounding of the keyboard in climatic passages. Tempos are unhurried throughout, and there are mannerisms here and there that would be classified as spontaneous in the concert hall, but will probably pale on repetition. The laboured opening to the First Concerto is certainly unusual, before we arrive at a more familiar tempo, the following accelerando becoming his moment of outgoing personal brilliance. It has thus far been a story of extremes that shape his whole approach, but the Fourth, for left hand only, takes us back to a more familiar view. If I quibble about details, which I must convey to you, I have listened with admiration to his dexterity and that rare ability in mercurial passages to make every note sparkle like a diamond. The orchestra, directed by Hannu Lintu, are compliant partners. Not my first choice, but certainly very different. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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