Schumann: Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor; Symphonic Studies, Op. 13 & Op. posth.; Intermezzi, Op. 4; Toccata in C; Symphony No. 1: Scherzo, arr Kazakevich; Intermezzi, Op. 116/4 & 5; Prelude & Fugue in E flat minor

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schumann
LABELS: Conifer
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor; Symphonic Studies, Op. 13 & Op. posth.; Intermezzi, Op. 4; Toccata in C; Symphony No. 1: Scherzo, arr Kazakevich; Intermezzi, Op. 116/4 & 5; Prelude & Fugue in E flat minor
PERFORMER: Mikhail Kazakevich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDCF 227 DDD
Mikhail Kazakevich is one of the latest Russian exports to the West. Conifer snapped him up when he first came to Britain last year and this is the first of his discs under an exclusive contract. (A mixed recital and a disc of two Beethoven concertos will follow soon.) It’s certainly generous measure, particularly with the 24-minute ‘sampler’, and the programme is attractive, especially since the early Intermezzi and the magnificent G minor Sonata are not over-represented elsewhere on disc. The best-known works are the Symphonic Studies, which Kazakevich augments to indigestible proportions by including all five optional numbers, which he lumps together in the middle – not the most effective way of assimilating them. Of course, you can re-programme or even delete them if you feel inclined. The playing is fine, sensitive and yet somehow small. Its lack of impact has a lot to do with the recording, which is short on all three of the prime virtues: clarity, brilliance and depth. It’s a bit like listening through a neighbour’s wall. Adrian Jack

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