WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36; Piano Sonata, Op. 1
PERFORMER: Mikhail Kazakevich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDCF 235 DDD
This is certainly an unusual recital programme, especially for a CD, but its variety displays Kazakevich as a versatile and deep-thinking artist. Right from the opening cascade of the Rachmaninov sonata it is clear that he has an ability to switch between emotional shades in a wonderfully mercurial way. He is a serious, even introverted musician, at his best in this rather severe and dark-hued repertoire, but he can produce everything from an exquisite luminosity in the Brahms E major Intermezzo (Op. 116/4) to the thunderstorms of Rachmaninov and Berg very convincingly.
His Bach sounds more like Edwin Fischer than any modern ‘purist’ and proves that the preludes and fugues not only sound glorious with the colouristic range of the grand piano, but lose nothing in the way of clarity – here Kazakevich is supremely controlled and classically intense. There are few weak spots about this disc – my only reservations are that the last movement of the Rachmaninov seems too disjointed and episodic, and in the louder moments he can sometimes sound a bit harsh. Jessica Duchen