Scriabin/Shostakovich: 24 Preludes, Op. 11; 24 Preludes, Op. 34

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COMPOSERS: Scriabin/Shostakovich
LABELS: Collins
WORKS: 24 Preludes, Op. 11; 24 Preludes, Op. 34
PERFORMER: Artur Pizarro (piano)
The idea of writing 24 Preludes, one in each key, seems to have originated with Bach (who, of course, wrote twice as many – with fugues attached). It was Chopin who made famous the idea of preludes standing alone, prefacing nothing, but capturing a single imaginative character in a page or two. In an excellent piece of programming, Pizarro gives us the responses of two of Russia’s most original composers to the form. Both Scriabin and Shostakovich follow Chopin’s key scheme (round the circle of fifths, starting in C, alternating major keys with their relative minors). Pizarro’s performance of the Shostakovich set is particularly fine, especially in the preludes that call for fleet-fingeredness and wit. Rather than hammering home its sarcasm, he keeps this acerbic music subtle. His playing of Scriabin’s set is appropriately tortured, although one could wish for a little more variety of imagination in his responses. With his sensitivity to texture and voicing, however, he shows a technique that is capable of anything. The recorded sound is excellent. Jessica Duchen