WORKS: Piano Sonatas: No. 47 in B minor; No. 53 in E minor; No. 60 in C; Fantasia in C; Andante con Variazioni in F minor; Sudbin: Larking with Haydn
PERFORMER: Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BIS SACD-1788 (hybrid CD/SACD
This recital by the St Petersburg-born but now UK-based virtuoso Yevgeny Sudbin concludes with a brief frolic entitled Larking with Haydn, a transcription of the finale of the Lark Quartet, ‘dished up’, as Percy Grainger would have put it, with all manner of additional quirks by the pianist himself.
A harmless bit of fun, but indicative of his interpretative approach which is, at all times, to go for spontaneous immediacy, and never mind the letter of the score.
Thus grace notes are articulated every which way according to context, dynamics sometimes contradicted and passages that are played one way first time round may be taken differently in the repeat, with added decorations and cadential flourishes.
Yet the liberties rarely sound wilful, almost always revealing alternative insights, while Sudbin’s handling of his potential heavy modern Steinway D grand is a delectable display of crispness, lightness, luminosity and affectionate songfulness.
And, as if to show that he can stick strictly to the text where he feels the musical necessity, his reading of the plaintive F minor Variations, recorded in a slightly more distanced acoustic than the rest of the disc, is about the least pulled-about of the many releases over the last year or so – even following what may have been an oversight of Haydn himself in omitting the repeat of the first half of the second major key variation.
But whether strict or free, there is never a dull moment on this disc. Bayan Northcott