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Lara Melda won the BBC Young Musician competition in 2010 and this is her studio recording debut, revealing a pianist of a maturity well beyond her years.

Melda begins with the Op 9 set of Nocturnes in performances of remarkable timbral variety. The Nocturnes of Op 27 are similarly well shaded but travel to more interior regions; Melda separates the two sets with the G minor Ballade. The choice of Op 27 is a fine one – the coda of Op 27/2 carries us towards Debussy in its fragranced daring – while each of the four Ballades is individually ground-breaking.

Melda clearly understands the narrational aspect of Chopin. Structurally, too, she comprehends the importance of maintaining tension in the First Ballade’s lyrical contrasts. She encourages us to hear the Nocturnes as micro-Ballades, supported by engineering that does her subtleties full justice. Melda is a major talent.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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