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Bezhod Abduraimov was born in Uzbekistan and emigrated to the US at 16. He has released a succession of notable discs, yet none that demonstrate his ability to negotiate distinct soundworlds like this one. He is a major talent.

The album opens with a perfectly calibrated Children’s Corner before immersing us in Chopin’s world. Abduraimov’s Préludes offer a reminder of the importance of Bellinian singing lines, particularly in Nos 4 and 8. The E-flat minor (No 14) is remarkable, occupying the hairline between detail and effect, its unsettling atmosphere a perfect foil to the so- called ‘Raindrop’ that follows. Single lines can speak volumes, despite – or perhaps because of – Abduraimov’s restraint.

Musorgsky’s Pictures ushers in a more vertically oriented, forbidding terrain. Abduraimov offers a technically perfect yet exciting reading, including a beautifully sculpted ‘Il vecchio castello’. With a top-notch recording and generous playing time, this is a must-have.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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