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By far the most extended piece here is Lutosławski’s early Piano Sonata. A student work, the composer’s models were French Impressionists and Szymanowski. Simon’s account of the first movement Allegro is perfumed and affectionate, acknowledging without over-emphasising the Ravel strain. The excellent recording (Deutschlandradio Kultur) captures Simon’s every nuance, as well as her astonishing delicacy in the central Adagio, where the musical argument is admirably sustained. Perhaps some of the more ecstatic passages could be rendered with greater radiance, but there is true magic towards the close of the finale. While Gloria Cheng (Telarc) provides an excellent alternative for the Sonata, it is good that Simon provides us with the balance of Lutosławski’s output. The splendidly approachable Bukolili (‘Shepherd Songs’), sit next to the more formidable Études, while Simon finds great charm in the Twelve Folk Melodies and the exquisitely crafted Three Pieces for the Young. Simon provides her own eloquent booklet notes.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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