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CD Review

Modest Mussorgsky

Piano Music - Volume 2

  • Pictures at an Exhibition
  • Gopak and Scene from 'Sorotchinsy Fair'
  • Sonata for Piano Duet *
Nina Kavtaradze, piano
* Michail Voskresensky, piano
Danacord 552 DDD 57m
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This is the second volume in Nina Kavtaradze's survey of Mussorgsky's piano music for the Danish label Danacord and she is definitely a prime interpreter of the classic 'Pictures'. Although I won't remove my Ashkenazy LP from the collection (my favourite version), Kavtaradze comes close with an especially fine rendering of 'The Old Castle' although her 'Bydlo' and 'Great Gate of Kiev' lack something in power and drive. The Promenades are however very beautifully done whilst such introspective pieces as the mystical 'Catacombae' and 'Cum mortuis in lingua mortuum' are very well portrayed. On the whole, it is a fine performance that certainly relishes the fantasy and imagination that Mussorgsky provides for the piano.

The accompanying pieces are a trenchant Gopak from 'Sorotchinsy fair' whilst the delightful Scene is a welcome rarity, both pieces are incidentally transcribed by Musorgsky himself, so you can't get better authority! Finally there's a Sonata for two pianos, another rarely heard piece, which is winningly done by Kavtaradze and Voskresensky, both creating a very vivid rapport between them.

A satisfying follow up to the first volume then and I wonder if there is still room for a third perhaps?

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech