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The biggest piece here is the inventive 28-minute transcription by virtuoso pianist Earl Wild of ten songs from Porgy and Bess. On this evidence, pianist Dominic John has inexhaustible energy, phenomenal technique, bravura – and at least four arms. The performance is astounding: mere mortals looking for fresh encores to learn may select extracts, helpfully tracked separately. Vaneyev’s follow-up to Rachmaninov’s better-known Kreisler transcriptions is less plausible, the original being crucially violinistic – though this premiere recording is persuasive. John does not play Busoni’s elaborate 1884 transcription of Chopin’s C minor Prelude, but the pared-down 1922 recomposition. Close miking and a shallow-toned piano affect some pianissimos in the Ravel and Barber, and the G above middle C goes out of tune. But this is a cleverly programmed and well-filled disc, most listenable and highly recommended.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica


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