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Transitions (Igor Gryshyn)

Igor Gryshyn (piano) (Orchid Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Kosenko: 11 Études, Op. 8; Scriabin: Preludes, Op. 22; Piano Sonata No. 4
Igor Gryshyn (piano)
Orchid Classics ORC 100176   45:25 mins

There’s no shortage of fine Scriabin recordings, so Igor Gryshyn offers something off the beaten track. He pairs the Op. 22 Preludes and Fourth Sonata with a set of engaging Études by Viktor Kosenko. It’s not just a case of bringing the music of a fellow Ukrainian to a wider audience; it also points up the kinship between the two composers – both succumbing early on to Chopin’s spell, and Scriabin’s potent influence on the young Kosenko.

Rachmaninov is also part of Op. 8’s melting pot of styles, and in No. 2 there’s even a bluesy drawl at work, which Gryshyn probes with an unfailing sense of languid introspection and dynamic shaping. The B minor Study reinvents Chopin’s ‘Funeral March’ as an agitated Presto, while the repeated notes of his ‘Raindrop Prelude’ toll throughout No. 10’s dark threnody. Gryshyn brings a fiery heft to No. 5 with a formidable build-up of its all-guns-blazing artillery and finds a glowing ardour in the C major Study.

The Scriabin Preludes, executed with a translucent limpidity, are particularly rewarding; and if Dmitri Alexeev is a touch more mercurial in the Sonata’s finale, Gryshyn nurtures the Tristan-esque disquiet of the first movement tellingly. At 45 minutes the recording gives short measure – but then, this is not music to be consumed in bulk.

Paul Riley