COMPOSERS: Liszt,Rachmaninov & Schumann,Scriabin
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Live at Carnegie Hall
WORKS: Works and transcriptions by Liszt, Scriabin, Rachmaninov & Schumann
PERFORMER: Arcadi Volodos (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SK 60893
Harris Goldsmith’s booklet notes make some bold claims for Volodos. ‘A true lyric virtuoso’, a Russian ‘hero’ in the Moiseiwitsch-Lhévinne-Richter tradition, ‘a keyboard poet who can touch and warm the heart, even when inspiring with astounding technical feats’. Extravagant maybe, but not misplaced. Volodos’s debut CD of transcriptions (SK 62691) was an extraordinary, belief-defying display – not merely of 24-carat technique, fabulous touch and panoramic tonal resource at the service of stratospheric dexterity, but of temperament and fantasy. You can’t manufacture that.
Edited from a Carnegie Hall recital last October, his new album contrasts high-wire trapeze acts (a swaggering, rhythmically knife-edged Rákóczy Rhapsody; a proudly ascendant Mendelssohn Wedding March) with music of very different style, dynamic and emotional charge. To the ‘leaves of different colours’ making up Schumann’s late-assembled Bunte Blätter he brings bewitchingly intimate confession and passion. Glassy climaxes and scarcely whispered cadences, Demidenko style, set aflame Scriabin’s White Mass Sonata. Through the darkness of the C minor Étude-tableau from Rachmaninov’s Op. 33 – anticipating a miraculously breathed Scriabin encore (at 51 seconds as hard to bring off as anything larger-spanned) – he draws us into a world of muted images, exquisite nuances and subterranean basses. Unforgettable. A transcendental masterclass. Ates Orga