Various: Piano Sonata No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 3; Fantasie in F minor

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COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 3; Fantasie in F minor
PERFORMER: Shura Cherkassky (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 433 650-2 ADD

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Born in 1911 in Odessa, spawning ground of great Russian pianists, Cherkassky is a last survivor of the Golden Age of Romantic piano playing. His gift is extraordinary.

A bewitching master of sound and colour, touch and attack, of phrasing and rubato, an artist of colossal imagination, personality and giving, nothing he does is indifferent. You either love it or hate it – passionately. These two albums, taken from broadcasts and released by arrangement with BBC Enterprises, range across his art.

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Enshrining a marche funèbre paced for heroes, the Chopin (1973-85) is a molten experience, balancing caprice and seriousness in a poetic overview where repeats take on a wholly new expressive significance. The unbelievable (Islamey – a blistering onslaught), and the perfumed (an exotic Albéniz/Godowsky Tango), are the domain of the Encores (1979-91). Compelling. Don’t miss it. Ates Orga