> Sergei Dukachev [TB]: Classical CD Reviews- Nov 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) (arranged Feruccio BUSONI)

Chorale Prelude: Nun komm der heiden Heiland
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)

Sonata in D minor
Sonata in E major
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Sonata in D minor, Opus 31 No. 2 'Tempest'(1802)
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Opus 42 (1931)
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Opus 75: (1937)
No. 4 Juliet the Maiden
No. 6: Montagues and Capulets
No. 8: Mercutio
No. 10: Romeo & Juliet before Parting
Sergei Dukachev (piano)
Recorded 16 February 2002, Shrewsbury School
DUNELM DRD0183 [68.01]


There is no question that Sergei Dukachev is a talented artist, and he has already made several recordings of the solo and concerto repertories which have been warmly received.

In this recital, recorded last February at Shrewsbury School, Dukachev offers an imaginatively selected programme which makes a satisfying experience in total, rather than as a library addition, from which a particular piece might be chosen. There is no reason, of course, why this disc cannot perform either function, provided the collector can find what he or she seeks at the time concerned.

The Bach and Scarlatti items are thoughtfully paced and make an interesting beginning. An obvious criticism concerns the documentation. Despite well organised notes provided via Royal Holloway College, it is not at all clear which two Scarlatti sonatas have been chosen. This is because neither the Longo nor the Kirkpatrick numbers have been included, while the insert notes are woolly.

The Beethoven sonata, known as The Tempest, is very enjoyable and lifts the recital on to another level. The first movement, with its alternative perspectives of activity and poetry, is particularly enjoyable and perceptive. While the remaining movements are not quite so gripping, they are still well enough played.

The same praise can be directed also at Rachmaninov's large set of Variations on Corelli's La Follia. The pacing of the ebb and flow of tension and relaxation through these pieces makes for a convincing interpretation of the whole; no easy thing to bring off. Again the recording is ambient and accurate, a tribute to what modern technology can achieve.

The concluding items, a group of four pieces from those Prokofiev arranged from his ballet music Romeo and Juliet, completes the programme. On the whole these are the least successful performances, although again the standard of playing is more than acceptable. But in the world of recorded performances there is always stiff competition, and Dukachev sometimes loses the clarity of Prokofiev's articulation in some of the faster passage work, while missing the last ounce of emotional intensity in the darker imagery of Romeo and Juliet before Parting.

However, to end on a negative note is unfair, since in most respects of both performances and recording, this is a most enjoyable recital.

Terry Barfoot


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