Scriabin: Piano Sonata No. 4; Preludes, Op. 11 (excerpts); Vers la flamme; Deux poèmes, Op. 32

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 4; Preludes, Op. 11 (excerpts); Vers la flamme; Deux poèmes, Op. 32
PERFORMER: Sophia Lisovskaya (piano)
Sophia Lisovskaya was born in Moscow in 1976 and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1994. On this disc she plays more like an English pianist than a Russian, though such generalisations about national cultural characteristics never allow for the exceptions, nor the exceptional. I like her best in the dreamy little later pieces like the Op. 57 pair, though she also does justice to two of the more stirring Études, Op. 65. (Maybe the engineers failed to register a full range of dynamics at the end of Op. 65/3, and the disc as a whole has a distant, foggy sound, not altogether inappropriate for Scriabin’s music.) Lisovskaya can certainly be sensitive, but what she lacks is passion and fire, and in the Fourth Sonata there’s an impression of caution, as if she’s unsure what to feel. The fruity early Étude, Op. 2/1, is swifter, lighter than usual, and the Op. 8/12 Étude also understated, not at all in the grand manner. She may be offering valid alternative views, but by the time I had finished listening to Lisovskaya’s selection from the Op. 11 Preludes, I felt her capacity to communicate strong emotion needed awakening. Adrian Jack