Rachmaninov: Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3; Morceaux de salon, Op. 10; Moments musicaux, Op. 16

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COMPOSERS: Rachmaninov
LABELS: Arabesque
WORKS: Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3; Morceaux de salon, Op. 10; Moments musicaux, Op. 16
PERFORMER: Ian Hobson (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Z 6685
Winner of the 1981 Leeds Competition, English-born Ian Hobson has made over twenty discs for Arabesque, including Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes, 17 Études-tableaux and complete solo transcriptions. Presumably, the two Sonatas are planned. Rachmaninov’s most famous solo piece, the Prelude in C sharp minor, was originally the second of the Morceaux de fantaisie, but the set as a whole isn’t very characteristic. Op. 10 offers more developed character, and glimpses of Romantic twilight in the Barcarolle and Mélodie, but it’s only with the gorgeous Moments musicaux that Rachmaninov really gets into his stride. Hobson plays very straight and strong, not tugging at the music, and he is certainly a fair match for Howard Shelley, whose complete Rachmaninov recordings on Hyperion are programmed so that you don’t get the early pieces collected on one disc. Neither pianist has that Slavonic panache you really can’t help craving, and occasionally, as in the Mazurka, Op. 10/7, Hobson seems a shade plodding. The recorded piano sound is bright. Adrian Jack

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