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Last year the invaluable Schloss vor Husum Festival celebrated 32 years of discovery and re-discovery. Invaluable because pianists are given the opportunity to explore unjustifiably neglected works beyond commercial interests. And whether of genuine quality they are never less than of absorbing interest.

The present issue opens with Fabian Müller’s free and rhapsodic performance of Debussy’s Ballade (originally Ballade slave), a beguiling alternative to Gieseking’s incomparable refinement and haunting evocation. Antonio Pompa-Baldi’s heady and intense rubato in Roberto Piana’s arrangement of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise and virtuoso aplomb elsewhere are exceptional, but pride of place must surely go to Etsuko Hirose’s performance of Pancho Vladigerov’s Passion, where an enticing emotionalism betraying the influence of Hollywood is caught to perfection. Here, surely, is a dream encore – something to set even the least susceptible hearts aflutter.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Piano International, 2019 - ©Rhinegold Publishing