What does a Tchaikovsky Competition winner, having just played Tchaikovsky's Meditation and Rachmaninov's Prelude Op.23/5 and talked about why he's been called the 'Siberian Bear', his collaboration with Valery Gergiev, playing Szymanowski in concert, etc, do when his host invites him to fill in some two minutes of air time before the news by playing an improvisation?

Maybe something gentle based on a Russian folk song?

Well, Matsuev let his hair down and let rip with something resembling a demented Art Tatum-meets-Kapustin plus boogie-woogie thrown in grin. He called it 'Merry Christmas'. Totally off the wall and quite hilarious. It beats most of the jazz improvisations by jazz pianists that I've heard for a long time...

You can hear it on www.bbc.co.uk/radio3, click on 'Programmes' and 'In Tune' for Tuesday 18th December. The improvisation starts at 1:27 but he played the other pieces from 1:14 onwards.