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According to her biography, Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu’s career is taking off nicely. This beautifully recorded disc can but help: it is a recital she knows well and includes some works that are perhaps lesser known than they should be. The Schumann ABEGG Variations is deftly given, with Dariescu underlining the quirkiness of Schumann’s writing. The Liszt Second Ballade is a forbidding piece, and if she cannot equal Erwin Nyiregyhazi’s accounts (who can, in reality?), Dariescu nevertheless reveals a maturity, particularly in her mastery of the charged silence. Alas she misses the ecstasy of the climax; she compensates, though, with a gloriously voiced Wagner/ Liszt Liebestod full of drama. Chopin’s glowing Andante spianato leads to a Polonaise full of unexpected fantasy. The Fourth Ballade is a dream. I look forward to hearing more.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing