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From Russia Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Three Movements from Petrushka [17:19] Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906)
Three Pieces, Op. 42 [9:43] Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Two Poems, Op. 69 [4:41] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Preludes, Op. 23 [38:16]
Panagiotis Trochopoulos (piano)
rec. info not provided CAMEO CLASSICS CC9023CD [69:59]
Panagiotis Trochopoulos is a very good pianist. He has great technical skill, navigating Stravinsky’s Petrushka with aplomb. The programme offers some little-known gems in the short pieces by Scriabin and especially Anton Arensky. The Arensky works (Three Pieces, Op. 42) are true rarities, only available on one other disc, albeit one my colleague Nick Barnard loved. They’re good romantic miniatures, especially the etude, which despite its name and rapid octave-hopping is just as tuneful as the other two.
Trochopoulos’s Rachmaninov is often slow and careful, with mixed results, most negatively in the G minor march. At times in the march and the D minor prelude one wonders if he really knows the music well, or not. Then Trochopoulos turns around and delivers sensitive readings of the D major and E flat preludes, and has no problem clearing the hurdles of No. 7 in C minor and its perpetual motion.
Now, the bad news: this is not twenty-first century sound quality. Trochopoulos was born in 1982; the disc sounds like it was recorded in mono in 1960. The piano is distant and one-dimensional, as if a great mono original had been cleaned up with hiss-reduction software. There were some mid-1980s Marco Polo discs that sounded like this, too. I don’t know the cause.
This is a good introduction to the talents of Panagiotis Trochopoulos. It could have been better, if the recording had captured the full sound of his playing. If Trochopoulos visited my city, I’d attend the recital. I look forward to good recordings from him in the future, presented in modern sound.