There's no question about pianist Kateryna Titova's technique in her debut recital, and a good thing, too, since the program consists entirely of works by Rachmaninov, the composer of some of the most transcendentally difficult piano music of the fin de siècle. But no matter what the Russian composer asks for – be it the tumults of notes that open the Allegro agitato of his Second Piano Sonata, the ethereal ostinatos that start the Prélude in G minor, the monumental sonorities that fill the Prélude in C sharp minor, or the feathery arabesques that saturate the composer's transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee – the young Ukrainian-born, German-based pianist nails them all.
…But indeed, I would hold up these three last pieces as touchstones of Blechacz’s current achievement. With their complete mastery of rubato, voicing and structure combined with expressive freedom, it is impossible to hear them without feeling that the tiny group of living great pianists is now a little larger. This is a career to follow, so don’t miss out.
Martha Argerich’s long career has taken in many outstanding solo performances, but she has often professed to feeling ‘lonely’ on stage. This CD showcases the area in which she feels truly at home: her extensive and fruitful collaborations with other first-class musicians. Among the many younger pianists she has taken under her wing at her academy in Lugano are Lilya Zilberstein, who rose to fame in the 1990s and whose sparkling playing is also featured on this disc, as well as Nelson Goerner, whose collaboration with Argerich in Rachmaninov’s nostalgic Symphonic Dances is released here for the first time.