Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven * Prokofiev * Schumann: Beethoven Six Bagatelles

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven * Prokofiev * Schumann: Beethoven Six Bagatelles

Article excerpt

Beethoven * Prokofiev * Schumann

Beethoven Six Bagatelles, Op 126

Prokofiev Sarcasms, Op 17

Schumann Davidsbundlertanze, Op 6

Nikita Mndoyants pf

Steinway & Sons (F) STNS30075 (65' * DDD)

Winner of the 2016 Cleveland and 2007 Paderewski Competitions, as well as a finalist in the 2013 Cliburn, the Russian pianist Nikita Mndoyants would seem to be well on his way to an international career. He is also an accomplished composer who, at the age of 27, teaches orchestration at the Moscow Conservatory. His new release on the Steinway label shows him to be an excellent pianist as well as a wise and thoughtful musician.

Beethoven's Op 126 Bagatelles seem not so much interpreted as realised. Each small-scale structure is delivered intact, their straightforward expressive gestures immaculately tailored. Individually and as a set, it is as though we are overhearing an improvisation.

Despite the communicative urgency maintained throughout the Davidsbundlertanze, they unfold with an air of unrushed inevitability. Schumann's wit and mercurial playfulness, whether manifest in rhythmic emphases, melodic contours or voice-leading, are relished without ostentation. Pensiveness and longing are sensitively portrayed with a chaste rubato, coupled with abstemious pedalling. …

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