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Anatole Kitain was a master pianissimist. Sadly, he was also a deeply flawed fortist, who seems not to have understood that a masterly forte, let alone fortissimo, has at least as much to do with character, balance and rhythm as with volume. Though his virtues were many, they repeatedly fell victim to a miniaturist mentality. The overriding impression here is of a relentless superficiality, in which almost everything is reduced to the level, and the prevailing style, of a waltz. In one passage after another (even in the most anguished outbursts of Chopin’s Second Ballade and First Scherzo), a tritely literal repetitiousness of inflection and phrase subverts high drama with all the tragic stature of an agitated cartoon rabbit. All in all, a major disappointment.

JEREMY SIEPMANN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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