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Pianist Simon Trpèeski, The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, conductor Cristian Măcelaru – CD Review, January 6th, 2024

An album released by the British record label Linn on November 10th, 2023: two piano and orchestra concerts by Johannes Brahms, recorded by Simon Trpèeskiand The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; conductor Cristian Măcelaru.

The album comes in pair with the one released by the same record label in 2021, which focuses on the two piano and orchestra concerts by Dmitri Shostakovich. The 2021 record received immense international praise, as did the Brahms album. Quoting the British magazine Gramophone: "These deserve to be heard. They are well-adjusted interpretations, which have been amazingly recorded."

The Times from the 10th of November, 2023 notes: "The success of this undertaking is rooted in two related ingredients. One of them is the connection established between the orchestra and the pianist, essential for this work, where their collaboration is so varied. The other one: the connection between the pianist and the conductor, as well as their understanding of music, in terms of highlighting traditional Central-European music, which is so close to them, expressed through the musical phrasing. This record is a project in which everyone wins: musicians, the audience and Brahms himself".

Simon Trpèeski is a familiar name for the Romanian audience. The last time he could be listened to was on November 10th, 2023, in Bucharest, at Sala Radio, where he performed Brahms'Piano Concerto No. 2. On March 14th, 2023,he played alongside Cristian Măcelaru in Timișoara. It was a concert performed together withThe WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, focused on the same Brahmsian opus, which had been picked up by the Arte television post.

Being the same age as Cristian Măcelaru, the Macedonian pianist Simon Trpèeski came to the attention of the internation world in 2001, when he was 22, at the same time with his embedding in the BBC Radio 3 program, New Generation Artists. As of 2005, he performed alongside great orchestras in the world, from USA to Japan. In the 2023-2024 season, he is an artist-in-residence in two orchestras: the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. He is known for tackling with a concert repertoire which requires outlandish technique, especially the Russian one. Together with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and conductor Vasily Petrenko, he recorded the fundamental Russian concert opuses: concerts by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, an undertaking he continued with Cristian Măcealuri, working on concert opuses by Shostakovich.

Performing Brahms' piano and orchestra concerts is a true stumbling block, especially in the case of the Concerto No. 2, known as a symphony in which the piano is mandatory, where challenges arise at all levels: technically, artistically and emotionally.

The thing that I value most in terms of the pianist's and the conductor's visionis that rhapsodic way in which the discourse is being created. It gives a certain flexibility and liveliness to the music sheet, in a new and unexpected way. It is a truly interesting read-through that I consider, as well as The Times writer, that is beneficial to everyone: to the musicians, to the audience and to Brahms himself.