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Kirsten Johnson, a self-styled ‘piano explorer’, has chosen as her latest project the music of Russian composer Dmitri Kabalevsky (a student of Alexander Goldenweiser and Miaskovsky and an influential figure in the Soviet Union). Various major pianists of the past have championed Kabalevsky’s music, but in the present day a renaissance is in order. Johnson presents a wide variety of pieces composed from 1931 to 1974 and taking Ukrainian, Russian and Slovak themes as their basis. Five sets of variations (all from Op 51) are interspersed with folksy character pieces from a variety of sets. The music is consistently inventive and always winningly delivered. This acts as a companion volume to Johnson’s disc of concert pieces (NI 6283).

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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