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CD: Cameo Classics

From Russia
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Three Movements from Petrushka (1911-21) [17:28]
Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906)
Three Pieces Op.42 (1890s) [9:38]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Two Poems Op.69 (1912-13); No.1 [2:04]: No.2 [1:47]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Preludes Op.23 (1903-04) [37:56]
Panagiotis Trochopoulos (piano)
rec. Veria, Greece, 2007
Experience Classicsonline

The Greek pianist Panagiotis Trochopoulos was born in 1982 and, having studied with Nikolai Petrov, graduated from Moscow Conservatory in 2006. He has already recorded Pabst’s Concerto in B flat major for Cameo Classics, a work that was given its first public performance in 120 years in 1985, and earned the sobriquet ‘The Lost Concerto’ as a result - or maybe it was a handy tag.

Now he stays with native Russian soil for this live recital, recorded in the Theatre in Veria, in his home country. As with that Pabst disc the audience is remarkably quiet. The focus of the evening was on the ten Op.23 Preludes of Rachmaninoff. He plays them very adeptly and the tone colours he extracts from his Steinway sound suitably Russian. He doesn’t indulge in extremes, either of dynamic variance or of metrical displacements. So, for example, he is not nearly as draconian-fast as Gavrilov in the First in F sharp minor: EMI 5655602, but this contains only a selection of the Preludes] nor does he engage in quite the rubato of, say, Biret (Naxos 8.550348). He remains relatively direct, and it becomes more apparent as the cycle develops that his musical instincts are unexaggerated and commonsensical. Yet he can voice powerfully, as in the G minor, and ensure that his articulation is brisk, as in the case of the E flat minor, where he’s not quite as will-o-the-wisp as Biret. What he has yet to develop is that sense of tonal richness and lyric phraseology that someone like Earl Wild possesses (Ivory Classics 78002) in which voices teem individually even at fast tempi and in which that compelling tensile quality assumes a heroic quality.

The Scriabin Poems reflect well on his acute selectivity offering good contrasts, as they do. The First exudes, in his hands, yearning and is nicely pedalled, though it doesn’t seek to replicate the terse suddenness located in it by one of the composer’s greatest executants, Sofronitzky. Similarly No.2 is more skittish than Sofronitzky, and less inherently mutable. Arensky’s Three Pieces were written in the 1890s and consist of a Prelude, Romance and Etude. The first is lyrical and warm hued, the second pliant and the Etude - what else? - a sprightly way to end. One doesn’t get the chance to hear the Op.42 set very often so it’s more than welcome in this generous performance. There have been more outsize and incursive performances of Stravinsky’s daunting Three Movements from Petrushka but Trochopoulos turns in a commanding reading, reserving maximal virtuosity for The Shrove-tide Fair.

Trochopoulos now adds a strong recital disc to that previous concerto one. I suppose the next question relates to questions of a more geographically balanced recorded repertoire, if of course that is considered desirable.

Jonathan Woolf



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