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It was only a matter of time before Khatia Buniatishvili would record the two popular Rachmaninov concertos, and Sony’s release will be cause for either delight – to her many adulating fans – or dismay at yet another coupling (Presto Classical’s site lists 275 and 230 individual recordings respectively).

Immediate gratification is the most notable feature of Buniatishvili’s interpretations, led by her undeniably phenomenal keyboard technique. But flashy brilliance and the ability to curl one’s fingers around every note does not guarantee depth of musical response, and this last quality is often subordinated to display in Buniatishvili’s peformances. While Rachmaninov’s concertos are designed for virtuoso display there is music here, too, and Buniatishvili does not always find the poetry between the notes.

In the overplayed Second Concerto, Buniatishvili herself overplays it: the opening movement is just too fast and sounds rushed in places, a failing that blights the finale of the Third, too, with sometimes ugly effect.That Buniatishvili can play on a more elevated, less self-focused plane is proved in No 2’s Andante sostenuto, though she does not quite match Tharaud’s revelatory recent version (Erato) or Yuja Wang (Deutsche Grammophon). The Third, similarly. is a mix of good and poor.

The Czech Philharmonic and Paavo Järvi accompany superbly and the sound is fine. For a good modern recording of these concertos, however, look no further than Stephen Hough with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony (Hyperion). That is how these works should be played.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing