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Perhaps the piano sonatas of Prokofiev, himself a fine player, chart best his development as a composer, and this selection – the brilliant, early second; the blistering sixth; the enigmatic eighth – is as representative and rewarding as any. Melnikov eschews barnstorming and mere effect, yet his refined, thoughtful approach never lacks power or impact: cataclysmic passages are revealed afresh, tender moments meltingly exquisite. That this vividly-recorded disc is the first in a complete cycle of the sonatas is cause for celebration.

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