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With this disc, Daniil Trifonov completes his cycle of Rachmaninov’s works for piano and orchestra. A mix of surprises – many breath-taking, a few regrettable – he has you blowing hot and cold. Riding high on the crest of adulation he is a mercurial, unpredictable pianist.

Trifonov’s prodigious dexterity is compromised by DG’s sound which takes the edge offhis playing, making it sound less eloquent and glittering than it should. His performance of the First Concerto, audaciously slow in the central Andante, is less urgently committed than expected, particularly when compared with his 2018 album of the Second and Fourth Concertos (DG 483 5335). Rachmaninov’s own recordings apart, Richter in No 1 (with French horns that sound like saxophones) and Horowitz-Reiner, Gilels and Cliburn (his 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition triumph) in No 3 carry greater, less idiosyncratic distinction – and we cannot forget Stephen Hough’s visceral thrills in his live Dallas performances (Hyperion 2004).

As is now customary, Trifonov chooses the fuller cadenza in No 3, where with muscles bulging and rippling he is let loose with a vengeance. His arrangement of Vocalise is over- laden, but he dazzles in his arrangement of ‘The Silver Sleigh Bells’ (part one of The Bells choral symphony Op 35) – a burst of joyous brilliance.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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