… The 28-year-old Russian Aleksandr Shaikin even managed to demonstrate his flair for light, airy sounds in Brahms’s monumental First Piano Concerto. He doesn’t thunder away charismatically at the keyboard, but is a subtle, superior interpreter
… Shaikin played the First Piano Concerto by Brahms with exceptional virtuosity in the chordal passages.
... This is a cultivated pianist whom we must take seriously. He lets the composer speak, and doesn’t put himself in the foreground. His i nterpretations are characterised by a high degree of professionalism, integrity, musical intelligence and maturity. Beethoven’s Sonata op. 110 especially impressed me on account of his honesty and visionary sense of poise.
Right from the start he sought an intensive dialogue with the orchestra. He achieved the fatalistic mood of the opening movement extraordinarily well – the movement that was sketched under the shadow of Robert Schumann’s suicide attempt. Shakin plays powerfullyin fortes, but without any heavy-handedness … the big pedal-point section in the devout-sounding middle movement was particularly beautiful. Here, Shaikin demonstrated his inner freedom from the pressure of concertizing and of competitions – offering that expressive sense of letting-go that’s necessary to turn the right notes into great music.