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New Zealand pianist Colin Horsley died in 2012, aged 92. He boasted a wide repertoire, including Max Reger, Lennox Berkeley and Medtner. He is perhaps best known for his recordings with Dennis Brain. Peter Mechen’s superb, comprehensive notes for this release give an excellent overview. The mixed and matched Preludes reveal a pianist very much at home in Rachmaninov. Horsley fully understands the juxtapositions of Op 32 No 4, while Op 23 No 1 emerges as remarkably exploratory. The Preludes are separated by a selection of Rachmaninov transcriptions. Here, Horsley’s sense of humour comes through, most notably in the capricious Mendelssohn Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mussorgsky’s Gopak from Sorochinsky Fair. The transcription of Rachaninov’s own song Lilacs is meltingly lyrical. Perhaps the over-languorous Wohin? (Schubert), far more Rachmaninov than Schubert, will not find so many supporters, but this remains Rachmaninov playing of the very first order.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing