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Issued to celebrate Nelson Freire’s 75th birthday, this recital of encores – a gratifying mix of the familiar and unfamiliar (though surprisingly without music from Freire’s beloved Brazil) – shows this legendary pianist evoking a dream- world in playing of rare poetic delicacy. His days of high-flying virtuosity may be past, but have been exchanged for gentler virtues.

In his selection of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces, Freire, like Gilels before him, explores a whole world of intimate feeling and a melancholy at the heart of Grieg’s indelibly northern nature (‘At your feet’ is a musing on unrequited love if ever there was one). What quiet, unforced beauty he finds in two Rachmaninov Preludes (Op 32 Nos 10 and 12) while Mompou’s ‘Jeunes filles au jardin’ from Scènes d’enfants could hardly step more lightly or sing more seductively. This enchanting recital comes with photographs of the pianist taken over the years and includes a warmly affectionate essay by Alain Lompech.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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