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This is a curious disc. Moscow-born Katya Apekisheva, a Leeds prizewinner, plays a Pictures with its edges blunted. Her own brief note in the booklet talks of the darkness in this music, and indeed she at times emphasises the angularity, the jagged, unhewn nature of Mussorgsky’s writing. Technically, too, all is fine, but where is the fire? Tuileries sounds like speed practice coupled with an inclination towards the Impressionist. The end of Limoges is studio-bound, and the Great Gate has little grandeur, even losing steam. Richter (the 1958 Sofia recital, on Philips) has nothing to worry about.

The quirky Shostakovich Preludes seem to capture Apekisheva’s imagination, however. She is able to summon up the essence of each movement immediately and with ease, from a whirlwind Presto to an absolutely gorgeous Largo. Such a pity about the Mussorgsky, all the more so because Shostakovich’s Op 34 is such a rarity.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing