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This is not just a well-filled disc with intelligent couplings; this is the real deal. Vorontsova traces her lineage back via Lev Oborin and Konstantin Igumnov. Recorded in 2013, she plays with the utmost command. The Sonata No 2 (in its revised 1931 version) has blocks of sound hewn in stone and a grim determination, among which lyric interludes blossom. Rachmaninov’s characteristic bell invocations are highlighted. The tenderness of the central ‘Non allegro’ is beautifully unsentimental.

The Corelli Variations represent Rachmaninov at his finest, and Vorontsova reacts with her most accomplished playing. The theme is itself weighed down with the heavy melancholy at Rachmaninov’s core; the subsequent explorations of the theme are remarkable, the climactic Variation 20 emotionally shattering. The Moments musicaux are balm to the ear. No 2 is heard in the original 1896 version, while No 3 invokes the sheer desolation of the last act of Wagner’s Tristan. Throughout, Vorontsova’s command is awe-inspiring.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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