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This is even better than Xiayin Wang’s disc of Etudes-Tableaux, Moments musicaux and the Corelli Variations (CHAN10724). Chandos’s recording is fairly forward, which suits the music’s outgoing expressivity. The First Sonata exudes a sense of space, coupled with a confidence that underlines Wang’s sure comprehension of Rachmaninov’s score. Her tone can be unutterably sweet at times; at others, she can deliver maximal dynamic chords without breaking tone. The disc is carefully planned, with the three Preludes (contrastive within themselves) separating the two Sonatas. Wang plays the composer’s 1931 revision of the Second Sonata. She seems to have an intuitive grasp of how Rachmaninov’s busy surfaces relate to the overall form, which gives her leeway to dwell on the more expressive passages without losing any sense of flow. She is more restrained than, say, John Ogdon in his awe-inspiring RCA performance, but impeccably convincing in her own right.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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