September 26th, 2013
“Kozhukhin gave a fresh-faced reading of the F major Piano Sonata (Hoboken 23). Crisp and eager, fleet and fastidious, Kozhukhin delighted in the surprises to be found during the witty and urbane first movement, and in the intricate Adagio that follows he brought out its plaintive expression and unexpected modulations. Played with pleasure, the jolly japes of the finale made the world seem a better place. Then with much contrast Kozhukhin found a richly expressive world in César Franck’s masterly Prelude, Chorale and Fugue (Liszt and his cyclical principles in the mix), searching and soulful initially, and also clarifying the denseness of the writing, then delivering raptly the chords and arpeggios of the ‘Chorale’. The ‘Fugue’ was prepared grandly for and exposed for both its minutiae and sweep…
It was good to hear this work and to enjoy Kozhukhin’s commitment to it [Hindemith Sonata No. 3]. So too the pianist’s way with the Fantasies (three Capriccios and four Intermezzos) that make up Brahms’s Opus 116; whether mightily heroic, tenderly personal or powerfully passionate, Kozhukhin had the measure of chordal cloudbursts and the most intimate expression.
In reviewing the Onyx Prokofiev release, I suggested that “it may well be that Denis Kozhukhin (born 1986 in Nizhny Novgorod) can be considered as the leader of the pack of Russian pianists currently under forty.” This Wigmore recital more than confirmed this… Kozhukhin will surely become a favourite at this venue.”
Classical Source, September 2013