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The Etude that opens Tchaikovsky’s Op 40 indicates this music is hardly of ‘moderate’ difficulty. It does show that Japanese pianist Mami Shikimori’s technique is stunning, however, while the ‘Chanson triste’ and the ‘Marche funèbre’ reveal her capacity for profundity. Op 40 was penned just after the Symphony No 4 and Eugene Onegin, and a similar depth of sorrow surfaces here and there. Some music is decidedly of the salon, while keen-eared listeners will recognise an affinity with Swan Lake in the ‘Danse russe’.

The Souvenir de Hapsal is marginally better served on disc, and again Shikimori carves a niche for herself, capturing the misterioso of the first piece perfectly, while her sweet tone for the well-known ‘Chant sans paroles’ captivates. Four charming miniatures complete this delightful disc of the byways of Tchaikovsky’s piano output.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing