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Presto Classical’s website lists 283 recordings in all formats (including duplications) of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto, making it one of classical music’s most crowded markets. Any newcomer needs to be extra-special to make their mark, with scintillating performances and interesting couplings, such as Yevgeny Sudbin’s from 2007 (BIS, coupled with Medtner’s Concerto No 1), or Beatrice Rana last year (Warner Classics, with Prokofiev’s Second). Alexandra Dariescu takes an interestingly small-scale view of the concerto, concentrating – as did Rana – on the lyrical side, but less compellingly throughout in an interpretation that drags a little at times.

Pletnev’s transcriptions from The Nutcracker (published in 1978) are nicely, even intimately, played (though lacking Pletnev’s fantastical imagination) but at 53 mins long, the disc is not over-generous. The sound is first-rate, the Royal Philharmonic on good form, too.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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