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A mixed disc, and luckily it is the rarer piece that receives the finer performance. Sterndale Bennett’s Piano Sonata contains definite Schumannesque moments, so the coupling makes sense (also Schumann’s Etudes are dedicated to Bennett). The long first movement of Bennett’s 1837 Sonata includes the exposition repeat. Takenouchi, well recorded, maintains the flow; he also makes the most of the Mendelssohnian spinning-wheel figuration of the second (marked ‘Serenata’ in the Augener edition). Takenouchi far outranks the rather rushed Ilona Prunyi (Marco Polo) both in performance and recording terms.

Takenouchi opts for the earliest published edition of the Schumann, but in a sense it hardly matters. This is a poor performance, clunky from the off, and marred later by studied rubato and a general plodding demeanour (the finale nearly stops at one point).

Worth it for the Bennett; perhaps give the Schumann a swerve.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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