You know Autumn is here when the Proms are over and the Gramophone Awards have been announced (one of the leading classical music journals). You also know that when journalists start referring to artists as a 'phenomenon' that only occurs two or three times in a generation that they must be talking about somebody pretty special. That is exactly what they are saying about the young Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov who is this years Gramophone Artist of the Year. At the age of 25 he has won all the major piano competitions including the most prestigious of them all the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 2011, since then he has travelled the world as a recitalist and concerto soloist and has signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
There are two recordings by Daniil Trifonov which are highly recommended, the first was recorded earlier on in his career with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev featuring Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 as well as some interesting solo piano pieces. The concerto is one of the best known works on the planet, so it takes some doing to please the media. Here is Trifonov playing an excerpt from the very beautiful slow movement on YouTube.
The newer recording which is highly recommended is called Rachmaninov 'Variations' on which the Paganini Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is complemented by two sets of solo variations on themes by Chopin and Corelli. Then there is a set of five pieces called Rachmaniana composed by the pianist himself which is a heart felt tribute to the legendary composer. This recording has received a plethora of amazing reviews including this one from Gramophone online: "The opening bars tell you this is going to be a good "Pag Rhap". As it turns out, it is a great one, up there with the very best". Here is Trifonov playing the famous 18th variation on YouTube.