Chopin/Liszt: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor; Allegro de Concert, Op. 46; Waltz in D flat, Op. 70/3; Grande Valse in A flat, Op. 42;Dante Sonata; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12

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COMPOSERS: Chopin/Liszt
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor; Allegro de Concert, Op. 46; Waltz in D flat, Op. 70/3; Grande Valse in A flat, Op. 42;Dante Sonata; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12
PERFORMER: Eldar Nebolsin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 440 935-2 DDD
Sometimes the first few minutes of a CD tell you most of what you want to know. The young Finn Janne Mertanen shows in Chopin’s D flat Nocturne that he is trying hard, to be not just expressive, but original. The trouble is that he has little sense of line or continuity, and the effect is fidgety and distorted. Similarly, he loses the thread of the lyrical passages in the Sonata, though he’s more impressive in the vigorous parts and strong in the famous A flat Polonaise. For a real sense of Chopin’s style, go straight to the Uzbek, Eldar Nebolsin, who was only 18 when he made his CD. He’s quite a find, for all his playing here has a faultless sense of shape and is sensitively detailed. Nebolsin never strains after effects but gives the two Liszt pieces all the brilliance and swagger they need. His way with Chopin’s Sonata may seem understated by some standards, but its grace and delicacy are underpinned by a firm sense of purpose. If you want to sample the disc, try the last movement, which is all the more moving for its steady tempo and mellow sonority; or either of the waltzes, in which Nebolsin’s sense of fleeting joy could hardly be surpassed. Adrian Jack

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