Shostakovich, Ravel, Prokofiev

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Prokofiev,Ravel,Shostakovich
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi Les nouveaux musiciens
WORKS: 24 Preludes, Op. 34
PERFORMER: Elena Rozanova (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMN 911757
Here is another Ukrainian-born, Moscow-trained keyboard athlete. Nothing here suggests that 32-year-old Elena Rozanova is more than that. She certainly gives Prokofiev’s Toccata a good hiding, which is

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what it deserves, but no one is likely to replace Argerich in this particular piece. As for Ravel’s five impressionistic Miroirs, Rozanova shows no inkling of their poetry and her playing is all steely fingers and glitter. ‘Oiseaux tristes’ is the best-played, but would be better still without such forceful eruptions. The repeated notes of ‘Alborada del gracioso’ sound less like a mandolin than a dentist’s drill. Yet until Naida Cole records these pieces, there’s no benchmark I’d like to recommend.

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As for Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes, not to be confused with the Preludes and Fugues he later wrote for Tatiana Nikolayeva, they are technically modest composition exercises, tending either to be cheeky or sly. The very last is a sort of modern version of the ‘Sugar-Plum Fairy’, which might be retitled ‘Acid Drop’. With his light touch and fey imagination, Olli Mustonen makes the best possible case for them. Finally, Prokofiev’s Third Sonata is one the composer compiled from student compositions, and it lasts under eight minutes. Rozanova plays it with impressive attack and relaxes naturally in the slower sections, but if you get John Lill’s excellent recording you also get the first two sonatas. Adrian Jack