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Benjamin Grosvenor’s fourth Decca album, entitled Homages, is an intriguing series of tributes. Busoni’s massive re-working of Bach’s violin Chaconne is followed by Mendelssohn’s devotion to Bach, while Franck’s Prélude, Chorale et Fugue emotionally recalls old forms. Chopin’s Barcarolle is an idealised image of Venice, while Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli recalls early Italian folklore.

Grosvenor’s first Decca issue appeared in 2012, so it is hardly a case of a record a day keeps the doctor away. He makes you wait, but the wait is gloriously worthwhile: however deeply considered, all these performances sound thrillingly spontaneous.

Grosvenor is already a master of grandeur and of the subtlest range of colour and nuance. His pianism is something to marvel at, yet everything is achieved in the service of a poetic vision of rare integrity. His Bach-Busoni, delivered with extraordinary eloquence and command, ranks with the finest accounts on record. Mendelssohn can scarcely have had a more devout or dazzling rendering, and not since Cortot has Franck’s Prélude, Chorale et Fugue been recorded with such fervour and interior magic. Not one to shy away from the heroic side of Chopin’s multi-faceted genius, Grosvenor takes the Barcarolle’s climax by storm before allowing it to sink into an ethereal reverie. In Venezia e Napoli he captures all the dark operatic drama of the central ‘Canzone’ while the ‘Tarantella’ emerges in a blaze of Neapolitan gaiety and sunlight.

Decca’s sound is as natural as it is wide-ranging. At the age of 24, Grosvenor surpasses the transient fame of so many famous competition winners with aristocratic and transcendental ease.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing