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The ever-enterprising Alexandre Tharaud follows his magical disc of French Baroque music with three world premiere recordings. Hans Abrahamsen’s concerto is for the left hand, a madcap offering that ranges, in the words of the composer, from writing ‘like a gentle rain, light and bubbly’ to a ‘fairy tale time’. Gérard Pesson is inspired by a quote from T S Eliot’s poem ‘The Dry Salvages’ and includes references to Ravel and bossa nova tango.

But it is Oscar Strasnoy’s Kuleshov which tugs and grabs at your attention, demanding acrobatic feats of the mind as well as the fingers. There is music with an American tint (memories of Gershwin), its weird fragmentation a constant source of interest and surprise. Glassy sighs and threats alternate with playfulness.

All these concertos, written for Tharaud, are played as to the manner born. Supported by equally skilled colleagues, his playing is indeed ‘unique and inimitable’ (Strasnoy): an opinion happily shared by both composer and critic.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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