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Nikolay Peyko (1916-1995) was a pianist, composer, teacher, polymath, chess player and sportsman, much admired by Myaskovsky and Shostakovich. Peyko’s cultured upbringing was followed by depressingly familiar Soviet persecution later in life, though he managed to compose – and prolifically so – to the end. Pianists wishing Shostakovich’s piano music matched the level of his quartets should explore Peyko forthwith. The influence is unmistakable, particularly in Dmitry Korostelyov’s tireless and forthright hands. The music is basically tonal (save for the serial Variations) and defiantly insistent. Sample the second movements of Sonata No 1 and Sonatina No 2 for lighter moments recalling Prokofiev – or start perhaps with the Nocturne, the penultimate track but the first calm piece. The Moscow-made recording is excellent.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica

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