Magazine article Gramophone

Primakov Launches His Own Label with Chopin

Magazine article Gramophone

Primakov Launches His Own Label with Chopin

Article excerpt

Chopin

Piano Sonatas-No 1, Op 4; No 2, Op 35; No 3, Op 58.

Four Ballades. Four Scherzos

Vassily Primakov pf

LP Classics (B) (2) 1009 (155' * DDD)

'A talented young pianist worth watching' was how I summed up my generally positive review of Vassily Primakov's 2004 all-Chopin debut release for the small American Tavros label. Primakov, of course, has since amassed a large discography for Bridge and now launches his own label with a full-course Chopin meal consisting of the three sonatas, the four Scherzos and are make of the four Ballades included on the aforementioned debut. While Primakov stands many of Chopin's dynamic markings and phrasings on their collective head, his sophisticated pedalling, pinpoint control of nuance and colour and strong polyphonic awareness consistently hold interest. Like the stricter Geza Anda and freer Shura Cherkassky, Primakov's Chopin is less concerned with projecting the big picture in cumulative arcs than in cobbling together large mosaics out of small details.

Cases in point include the heightened presence of the bass-lines in the Fourth Ballade's coda, along with the intriguing shifts in balance with which Primakov dispatches his rhapsodically paced Fourth Scherzo's soft rapid chords and quicksilver runs. Primakov's rubatos somewhat pacify the agitated qualities of the Second Ballade's A minor episodes, yet more harmonic felicities and melodic shaping emerge as a result. Some listeners, however, may find the rhythmic holdings back and speedings up in the first two Scherzos more eccentric than purposeful, not to mention the pianist's mannered tempo fluctuations in the G minor Ballade's coda and B minor Sonata's Scherzo. …

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