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Moscow-trained Nikolai Lugansky, a pupil of the great Tatiana Nikolaeva, makes a hugely successful case for Tchaikovsky’s G major piano sonata in this splendid recording. Lugansky offers both strong, muscular tone and a solid sense of structure. The lovely slow movement rises in complexity, culminating in a Schumannesque clipped dotted section, perfectly realised by Lugansky. His sparkling staccato for the brief Scherzo and his orchestral terracing in the finale are remarkable.

Although lesser-known, Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons (12 ‘characteristic pieces’ depicting the months) is a gem. Lugansky’s version comes up against another recent release, Alexander Kobrin on Centaur (coupled with Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition); while Lugansky has lots to offer, Kobrin delivers the more convincing account. Lugansky sometimes dwells too long (‘May’, for example) and elsewhere drives too hard (September’s hunt). There are many moments of beauty and imagination (October’s ‘Autumn Song’), but Kobrin offers the more complete experience.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing