Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: Rachmaninov Piano Sonatas-No 1, Op 28

Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: Rachmaninov Piano Sonatas-No 1, Op 28

Article excerpt

Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov Piano Sonatas--No 1, Op 28; No 2, Op 36 Tchaikovsky Lullaby, Op 16 No 1 (arr Rachmaninov)

Rustem Hayroudinoff pf

Onyx (F) ONYX4181 (67' * DDD)

For all their teeming surfaces, the Rachmaninov piano sonatas don't have to be treated as virtuoso demonstration vehicles. Sane, dedicated, balanced playing such as that of Russian-born, London-based Rustem Hayroudinoff is always welcome, as is the clarity he brings to every texture. His own booklet essay, of which an expanded version is available online, testifies to the thought that has gone into his recordings, and his technical mastery is never in question.

What is more debatable is whether the emotional contrasts he generates are sufficient to support the grandeur of Rachmaninov's conceptions. There are undoubtedly verve and poetry here but I'm not sure they amount to communicative urgency or encompass such heightened states as desperation and craziness. It's partly a question of tone-colour, which in turn may be to do with the choice of instrument. Haroudinoff's voicing of the texture is always intelligent but it is never truly orchestral in its range. …

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