ABC has been releasing
some examples of Sydney’s International
Piano Competition in their piano-striped
booklet livery; I’ve reviewed
a past competition on this site
but now we’re pretty well bang up to
date with performances from July 2004.
Rem Urasin was born in Kazan in Russia
in 1976, studied with Lev Naumov in
Moscow and has made a number of recordings.
Like many young pianists he’s done his
fair share of competition rounds – Warsaw
and Monte Carlo amongst them – and received
second prize at Sydney as well as a
clutch of Best Performance and Listeners’
He certainly chose
a Moscow warhorse with the Tchaikovsky
and we can hear him in heroically close-up
perspective. The orchestra, unfortunately,
whilst somewhere in the Sydney Opera
House is not that audible on disc. This
is one clearly for the pianist’s admirers.
Urasin starts rather cautiously and
there is a lack of precision in some
of his runs; the occasional dropped
note hardly matters. Whether as a result
of the too-close perspective or not
his tone is rather brittle and things
tend to hang fire in the first movement.
One can see why his won the Mozart prize
if his slow movement is any indication
– lyrical and humorously done and he
gets a rousing cheer at the end of the
finale. Coupled with the Concerto is
the Concert Suite from The Nutcracker
in Pletnev’s persuasive and captivating
arrangement. ABC has shown service to
Pletnev-Tchaikovsky in the past and
it’s well merited, not least when János
Fürst is at the helm. Sound quality
here is much better.