Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt & Wagner/Liszt

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Chopin,Liszt & Wagner/Liszt
LABELS: Dunelm
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Sergei Dukachev
WORKS: Piano works
PERFORMER: Sergei Dukachev (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: DRD 0165 (distr. 01457 855313)
Dukachev’s name and playing are both new to me, and since this release is a highly provincial production emanating from Glossop in Derbyshire, perhaps that’s not surprising. When I say ‘provincial’, I’m referring not to the playing, however, which is excellent, but to the booklet presentation, whose unworldliness, in these days of big-city hype and super-hype, is positively refreshing (‘In 1989,’ it reads, ‘he [Dukachev] distinguished himself by reaching the semi-finals of the International Beethoven Competition in Vienna’). The Russian-born-and-bred Dukachev is an established favourite in Glossop, and this recording makes it easy to see why. He reveals an effortlessly reliable technique, wide-ranging musical sympathies, and playing of impeccable musicality and taste. If he played like this in Vienna in 1989, either the jury was out to lunch or they had a bumper crop of true artists in those semi-finals. The playing, however, is entirely lacking in mannerism or idiosyncrasies of any kind, and it may be that some may find it a little bland and characterless. Dukachev is clearly more interested in serving music than in being a ‘big’ personality, and he serves it with great finesse. There’s hardly a bar in this recital that I don’t like very much. With Perahia’s C minor Variations on Sony, Kissin’s lyrical-volcanic Moonlight on RCA, Argerich’s stunning A flat Polonaise on DG and Brendel’s Liszt B minor on Philips, however, one can compile a formidable pick’n’mix recital of the same programme. But short of such extravagance, this release can be very warmly recommended. Jeremy Siepmann