Chopin • Fauré • Scriabin • Britten
If any disc were designed to induce somnolence, then 'The Nocturne' must be a strong contender. One might hope to be pleasantly surprised by the variety of emotional response and style which the ten composers on this disc — ranging from the inventor of the piano nocturne, John Field, via Chopin, Fauré, Liszt, Scriabin and Grieg, to Poulenc's Balfantomeand Britten's Night-piece— bring to the genre. The pieces on offer, however, have a sameness about them which the playing does little to counter, in spite of the very different personalities of their composers. Of course the Chopin and Fauré Nocturnes are masterpieces by any standards and, within their limitations, chart wide and often stormy seas. Unfortunately Marios Papadopoulos lacks the qualities necessary to bring out their latent individuality or poetry (though his recording of the Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues, also on Kingdom, is much more recommendable, in many ways complementary to that of the award-winning Tatiana Nikolayeva on Hyperion). His range of colour is severely proscribed, rubato is stiffly applied, and any sense of fantasy kept firmly at bay. But if all else fails, insomniacs may like to note that 'The Nocturne, Vol. 2' is also available (KCLCD 2032).