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