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Chopin • Debussy • Musorgsky: Piano Works

Behzod Abduraimov (piano) (Alpha Classics)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Chopin • Debussy • Musorgsky
Chopin: 24 Preludes; Debussy: Children’s Corner; Musorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Behzod Abduraimov (piano)
Alpha Classics ALPHA653   83:51 mins

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Behzod Abduraimov’s unmistakable talent is exhibited through long stretches of this disc. Sadly, though, it is  counterbalanced by errors of taste and judgment that range from the merely irritating to the downright shocking. He’s at his best in the Musorgsky Pictures, where his full-blooded technique and sonority make for a powerful and generally persuasive performance. But even here, he loses the plot in ‘Bydlo’ by making the rhythm ‘interesting’: no, it has to be metronomic and soulless, like the wheels of the oxcart. His Debussy suffers from time to time from the current malaise of treating the length of rests as a negotiable item: in ‘The Little Shepherd’, he inserts an unwanted gap between bars 26 and 27 and then ignores Debussy’s instruction ‘en conservant le rythme’.

But his worst errors occur in the Chopin Preludes. At the end of the F minor one, the extended gap before the two final chords makes one wonder whether he has popped out for a drink, while in the even-numbered bars of the A major the 3/4 time signature becomes 4/4. In the central section of the ‘Raindrop’ he plays discredited and melodically awkward C sharps in the left hand instead of the now accepted Es from Chopin’s autograph in the Polish National Library in Warsaw. But his worst assault on Chopin’s music comes in the E flat minor Prelude, where his overpedalling produces nothing less than a travesty. And yet, in the F major, his delicacy and phrasing are delightful.

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Roger Nichols