Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: Suites

Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: Suites

Article excerpt

Rachmaninov

Suites (a)--No 1, 'Fantaisie-tableaux', Op 5; No 2. Op 17. Six Morceaux, Op 11 (b)

Charles Owen, Katya Apekisheva (b) pf/ (a) pfs

Avie (F) AV2381 (70' * DDD)

I began with Suite No 2 for no other reason than I felt like listening to something robust and bracing. And that is exactly what I got--a muscular, tightly synchronised and rhythmically perky account of this wonderful score. It was recorded in the concert hall at Kings Place, London, a good choice for two reasons: first, the acoustic is neither studio-dry or resonantly awash, while airy enough to capture the music's busy detail and the wide dynamic range of the two Steinways; second, the venue is where Owen and Apekisheva hold their now annual London Piano Festival, which they founded in 2016.

The two have been playing together for just over 30 years, and it shows: the subtle give-and-take, the wonderfully precise ensemble and the feel of long acquaintance with the music. If Argerich and Freire remain sui generis in the Tarantelle finale, storming home in 5'30", a full 40 seconds ahead of the newcomers (their triplet repeated notes at presto are quite something), Owen and Apekisheva offer a convincing alternative. …

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