WORKS: Three Fantastic Dances Op. 5; 24 Preludes Op. 34; Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 61
PERFORMER: Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66620 DDD
Tatiana Nikolayeva’s association with Shostakovich and his dedication to her of the Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues made her recording of those works last year an invaluable historical document and her acclaimed performance an award winner.
Unfortunately this sequel fails to live up to that earlier project, giving the sense of having been hastily prepared to ride on the success of its predecessor. Here there is a feeling of emotional detachment about the playing, which, matched to a somewhat dry, cool recording environment, together make complete involvement in the performances difficult.
The witty early miniatures of Op. 5 (composed while Shostakovich was still a student) at least come off with a certain aplomb. But little else on the disc lives up to that promise. The Preludes progress in an often somnolent sequence, occasionally enlivened by the faster, wittier movements to which Nikolayeva admittedly does rise, though even here tempos are on the lazy side. Similarly, the Second Sonata is made to appear even more expansive than it already is by playing which is dogged by a rather bland tonal palette, though one that is at least appropriate to the sombre mien of the final movement. Matthew Rye