Bart—k, Poulenc, Scriabin, Szymanowski

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bartok,Poulenc,Scriabin,Szymanowski
LABELS: Discover
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Lambis Vassiliadis
WORKS: Suite; Les soirées de Nazelles;Piano Sonata No. 5; Variations on a Polish Folk Theme
PERFORMER: Lambis Vassiliadis (piano)
Both the name and playing of Lambis Vassiliadis are new to me, and on present evidence he’s a very capable player indeed, with a big, robust sound, a powerful rhythmic drive (more motoric than flexible, however) and a well-developed grasp of large-scale structure. This is playing which commands respect. Whether it also evokes pleasure is, of course, a very personal matter, and I must say that for me, there’s a want of variety, in almost every department, which proves fatal. I find the dynamic range frustratingly restricted, particularly at the softer end of the tonal spectrum, the colour too monochrome, the textures too little differentiated. There is no guarantee whatever that the composers would share my opinion, and there will doubtless be many listeners who find this an eminently satisfying recital. That said, I have yet one more grumble: while I have a lot of time for all these pieces, I really don’t feel that they work to their best advantage in this combination. But then Tchaikovsky called Brahms ‘a giftless bastard’, Debussy scorned Beethoven and Glenn Gould thought Mozart died ‘not too early but too late’. So what else is new? Like I say. Personal. Jeremy Siepmann