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Lukas Geniušas, medallist at both the 2010 Chopin and the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competitions, is clearly a questing spirit. Here, he focuses on the so-called ‘New Simplicity’ found in Russia in the 1980s. Geniušas plays 14 of Messiaen pupil Valery Arzumanov’s 27 Light Pieces (1985). The musical language is wide-ranging, including the hair-raising ‘Before the exam’ and the Russian melancholy of ‘Don’t You Cry’. Leonid Desyatnikov’s Echoes of Theatre (1985) comprises snippets from music for puppet shows. The highlight is the astonishing use of high register in ‘Handbells’. Finally, there are selections from Vladimir Ryabov’s Russian Songs (1989/90). Ryabov sometimes uses music from masterpieces as source material, most obviously here a folksong also found in Stravinsky’s Petrushka. Stimulating fare, performed with panache.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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