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Ukrainian pianist Behzod Abduraimov first came to public prominence in the UK in 2009, when he won the London International Piano Competition with Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. Here is a chance to experience something of his way with that piece, then, in a studio recording.

Abduraimov offers something of an antidote to the bashers who regularly hammer out Prokofiev’s Third, the best known of the composer’s five piano concertos. His playing is accurate and he employs an appropriately dry touch. He avoids pounding out the loud piano/ orchestra chordal interchanges in the first movement, and finds much detail throughout. The slow movement is the problem: both pianist and orchestra miss the mystery of this central panel, and Abduraimov almost sounds clumsy in places. The finale is better, the tempo well chosen and the music dancing, albeit in very angular fashion.

Earl Wild’s transcription from Swan Lake is pure delight, a fleetingly brief masterpiece of its genre. The Tchaikovsky First is fluent, the orchestra excellently sensitive. The excitement level remains rather low, but there is much to enjoy despite this (not least the beautifully controlled inner voice trill in the first movement cadenza). Abduraimov’s bejewelled touch stands him in good stead in the last two movements, but ultimately the impression remains a tad underpowered.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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