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This self-published disc is described by Belle as ‘a labour of love’ and was recorded on a Vogel grand piano in her living-room. California-born Belle presents a beautifully constructed programme. While the recording needs more breathing space, the piano itself is a fair instrument with a jewel-like top.

The Chopin Fantaisie-Impromptu is fluent, the Nocturne Op 9/1 expressive. Things go awry at the pedestrian Schumann Papillons. In a crowded field, this is no contender. The Ives (Sonata No 2, ‘The Alcotts’) is a good interpretation, with Belle locating the ecstasy inherent in the climactic chords, but the Bernstein (Four Anniversaries) is simply nondescript in comparison with Andrew Cooperstock’s recent recording (Bridge Records 9485A/B). The third movement of the Ginastera Suite de danzas criollas is the finest, with a nicely delineated canon; but overall, disappointing.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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