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Sibelius’ piano music remains a fairly uncharacteristic area of his output, but is rather better than many commentators aver. Joseph Tong is most familiar as Waka Hasegawa’s duo partner in splendidly executed programmes of Debussy, McCabe and Schubert. Here he goes solo in a selection of Sibelius’ finer sets. Annette Servadei remains the non plus ultra of interpreters in this repertoire, with her knack for making it seem more substantial than it is. Tong’s enthusiasm is infectious, though he cannot disguise the slightness of Kylikki’s finale. The Trees, The Flowers and Five Romantic Pieces sound like products of a master composer, true, but not a master miniaturist. The accounts of the Rondinos, Esquisses and the composer’s transcription of Finlandia are poised. Quartz’s sound is rich.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing