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I sought out this disc after Gabriela Montero cited it as one of her top five recordings (issue 14, Jul/Aug 12). Like Montero, Vanessa Perez was born in Venezuela and now resides in the US. Her first CD for Telarc features the 24 Preludes Op 28, Fantasie in F minor Op 49, Barcarolle Op 60 and two Preludes, No 25 Op 45, and No 26. Perez is an exceptional Chopinist, though certainly not in the traditional sense. There is a darker subtext to her playing, which has a greater brightness and contrast than most contemporary interpretations. That’s not to say Perez lacks poetry; if anything, her bold approach serves to emphasise the emotional shading. This is a vivid, exploratory recording dealt with confidence. Worth exploring.

CLAIRE JACKSON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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