Rachmaninov/Scriabin/Prokofiev

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COMPOSERS: Rachmaninov/Scriabin/Prokofiev
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 5 Op. 53; Piano Sonata No. 9 Op. 68; Piano Sonata No. 7
PERFORMER: Peter Jablonski (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 440 281-2 DDD
Here you get four of the best-known piano sonatas written by Russian composers in the first half of this century, and a handsome young man on the cover.

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The handsome young man is a pretty good pianist, too, and performs all the music in a straight, uncontroversial way. He’s best when the music is busy and rhythmically regular – or rather, in the case of Prokofiev’s finale, consistently irregular. He’s absolutely on top of Scriabin’s Fifth Piano Sonata, which in itself is exciting.

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What he doesn’t convey is expressive warmth – the outer sections of Prokofiev’s slow movement are just dull – and he shrinks from giving Rachmaninov’s soulful melodies their due weight. Adrian Jack