ALBUM TITLE: Chopin
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 2; Nocturne No. 8; Nocturne No. 13; 24 Preludes
PERFORMER: Mikhaïl Rudy (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 343 8312
With Mikhail Rudy’s playing of the Second Sonata you are immediately impressed with the energy and purpose of the playing. This is a very different approach from Pizarro’s, leaner and more muscular, with a tauter rhythmic focus, and underpinned by a crisper recorded sound. There is, however, a fine line between taut and rigid. The inflexibility of tone as much as of rhythm detracts from the music’s poetry; he doesn’t capture the lyricism of the second subject of the Sonata’s first movement, or the haunting quality of the middle section of the funeral march. Despite Rudy’s bold sense of line, the two Nocturnes similarly suffer from an unyielding sonority. While the Preludes are played with sound musical instincts, they sound too notey and, alongside the rich poetic warmth of Maria-João Pires (on DG), Rudy’s playing too often feels prosaic.
For the two sonatas on one disc Argerich is hard to beat, although older recordings from Gilels (No. 2) and Lipatti (No. 3) remain personal favourites. For the Preludes stick with Pires, or try the more exploratory live account by Grigory Sokolov on Opus 111.