In marked contrast with the Pekinels' breezy Bach, Bartk's three piano concertos (Deutsche Grammophon 477 5330 oooo9), issued as part of DG's Boulez 2005 series, features three very different soloists and three equally individual orchestras. A technically dazzling Krystian Zimerman tackles the harshly provocative First Concerto; Boulez opting for relative sobriety while Zimerman verges on the edge of playfulness. In the hyperactive Second Concerto, Leif Ove Andsnes (with the Berlin Philharmonic) is better balanced by far, his performance unstoppably athletic, the percussive finale like a last-ditch punch-up between sweaty heavyweights. Best of all, though, is Helene Grimaud with the LSO in the milder-mannered Third Concerto, a generously expressive account, superbly accompanied and recorded.
Two discs of piano trios are of interest, the first coupling Rachmaninov's Trio elegiaque in D minor (Warner 2564 61937-2 oooo9) together with Shostakovich's great E minor Trio. In the Rachmaninov, Boris Berezovsky's piano commands a Horowitzian dynamic range, especially in the first movement.
A more wistful piano trio by the 19th-century Irish pianist George Alexander Osborne was admired by Berlioz and is included on A Shower of Pearls (RT Lyric fm CD103 oooo9). Osborne's Trio easily stands its ground alongside various other forgotten treats being unearthed as part of the Romantic Revival.