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CD Review

Late Russian Romantics

Complete Masterworks Recordings, Volume IX

  • Alexander Scriabin:
  • Étude Op. 8 #8 in A Flat Major (1894)
  • Étude Op. 42 #3 in F Sharp minor "La moustique" (1903)
  • Étude Op. 42 #4 in F Sharp Major (1903)
  • Étude Op. 42 #5 in C Sharp minor (1903)
  • Étude Op. 65 #3 (1972)
  • Poemes Op. 69 #1 & 2 (1913)
  • Vers la flamme, Op. 72 (1914)
  • Feuillet d'album, Op. 58 (1972)
  • Nikolai Medtner:
  • Fairy Tale Op. 51 #3 in A Major (1928)
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff:
  • Sonata for Piano #2 in B Flat minor, Op. 36 (1913/31)
  • Prélude Op. 32 #12 in G Sharp minor (1910)
  • Moments musicaux Op. 16 #3 (1896)
  • Étude-tableaux Op. 33 #6 in E Flat minor (1911)
  • Étude-tableaux Op. 33 #2 in C Major (1911)
  • Étude-tableaux Op. 39 #9 in D Major (1916-17)
Vladimir Horowitz, piano
Sony Classical SK53472 ADD 73:76
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The repertoire in this program, particularly the Scriabin, shows Horowitz at his elemental best. Horowitz's principal trait, as former student Byron Janis so aptly puts it, is his "divine inconsistency" - the gift of total nervous control at the keyboard wedded with a prismatic tonal palette. The mercurial soundscapes of Scriabin's études mesh perfectly with Horowitz's own flightiness. He whips the "Affannato" Op. 42., #5 into a storm, the siren line of the arioso borne over volutes of seething bass notes. Amazing!

The second half of the recital is dominated by the blockbuster Rachmaninoff Sonata #2, recorded live in Carnegie hall.The sound is very good. Essential fare for inveterate romantics.

Copyright © 1998, Robert J. Sullivan