above information gives a clue to one of the most curious
aspects of this recording. Although the programme forms a
varied and fascinating introduction to the piano music of
three great Russian composers, and is an entirely reasonable
programme for a lunchtime recital – especially one given
during a piano festival – it is likely to leave some less
than satisfied at the end. The disc comes with a small but
quite informative booklet.
first piece on the disc, the Meditation comes from Tchaikovsky's
18 Morceaux, and Dukachev gives a pleasingly understated
performance without too much rubato.
following seven tracks are preludes from three different
Rachmaninov collections, and provide an opportunity for the
pianist to showcase his abilities both technically and musically.
one piece from the Op.3 Morceaux is the C sharp minor (No.2)
prelude, perhaps one of Rachmaninov's most well known preludes.
Dukachev does an excellent job of taking the listener into
the depths of this wonderful music.
are four preludes from the Op.23 collection, the B flat major
(No.2) is performed with quite a flourish, but Dukachev still
manages to avoid too much rubato. The D minor (No.3 – Tempo
di Minuetto) is for the most part, beautifully controlled
with just a little pulling back of the tempo at the end of
phrases. The D major Andante Cantabile is lyrical and smooth;
some percussive pedalling slightly detracts from it, however.
The G minor Alla Marcia is not stately enough for my liking
and Dukachev affects quite a mood change for the central
section. He is still able to bring the music back to the
initial tempo in a wonderfully controlled manner before the
two last preludes in this sequence come from Op.32, written
in 1910. Although they lack some of the virtuosic difficulties
of the previous selection, they are nevertheless challenging
from a musical point of view. The first of the two is the
G sharp No.5 (marked Moderato), which Dukachev is able to
imbue with a lovely ethereal feeling despite some extraneous
noises which made it onto the recording. The second is the
G sharp minor No.12 (marked Allegro) to which Dukachev is
able to give a flourish to complement the shimmering opening
first of the Prokofiev works on the disc is a single number
from the piano suite Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet
Dukachev has chosen the final piece, “Romeo and Juliet at
parting”, which is the longest and most substantial. What
we have here is a competent performance, but it lacks some
of the emotional depth that the music calls for.
one complete piece in the programme is the final work on
the disc, Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No.2 in D minor. Dukachev
here manages to balance the varying rhythmic demands of the
first movement, while maintaining a unified style, a less
than easy job with this music. The second movement, marked
Allegro Marcato is performed in a suitably spiky and humorous
fashion, while the third movement, marked Andante, is haunting
and has a dreamy quality. Dukachev is able to provide the
final Vivace with a suitably explosive finish.
in all, what we get is a fine recital, only spoiled by the
odd bit of extraneous noise, and perhaps by the slightly
bitty programme. It is a good disc for anyone exploring this
music for the first time, and is to be recommended for that.
Someone already familiar with this repertoire might be a
little disappointed with the CD's content.