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Nimrod Borenstein: Piano Concerto etc

Clélia Iruzun (piano); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nimrod Borenstein; I Musicanti (SOMM)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Nimrod Borenstein
Piano Concerto*; Light and Darkness**; Shirim
Clélia Iruzun (piano); *Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nimrod Borenstein; **I Musicanti
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD281   70:58 mins


Notes fall like raindrops, dripping delicately, later torrentially, before returning to a light shower –pianist Clélia Iruzun allows the percussive phrases to splish and splash. It’s a surprise after the regal opening to the second movement of Nimrod Borenstein’s Piano Concerto, where expansion disappears into pizzicato strings and staccato bassoon. ‘I strongly believe that contrast is one of the most important aspects of art,’ writes the composer (and in this piece, conductor) in the accompanying note. Stark evidence of that conviction is heard in this 2021 work; the Adagio is bookended by flurrying outer movements, both featuring a Faustian virtuosic solo part, expertly played by the work’s dedicatee.

Light and Darkness, as the title suggests, continues in a similar vein, this time in a one-movement work for piano quintet. Borenstein takes inspiration from Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet; the neo-Romantic lush strings often seem at odds with the shimmering piano part. Shirim, a set of 18 characterful piano miniatures, fares better: some of these solo works are intended for experienced amateurs to learn at home (the accidentals in ‘Jeux dans le garden’ sound fun). More complex pieces, such as ‘La forêt’, are given an aspirational reading by the ever-reliable Iruzun.


Claire Jackson