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This intriguing programme follows the shape of a church service. Referring to the piano as ‘that great spiritual machine’, Carterette calls us to worship with a kaleidoscopic performance of Bach/Busoni’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. A hymn follows – more Bach/Busoni, ‘Ich ruf ’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ’ BWV 639 – and a misnamed prayer in the form of Glass’s Mad Rush, originally written for organ to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s visit to New York. This last represents Carterette’s finest playing, a reminder of the influence of Buddhism on Glass.

If Bach/Busoni’s ‘Wachet auf ’ feels clumsy, Carterette excels in the Chai Variations on Eliahu Ha’Navi by Judith Shatin. This is visceral music that uses a Hebrew folksong associated with the end of the Sabbath. Rugged, somewhat deconstructive, it is a tour de force. Shatin is an eloquent communicator.

The disc could have ended with the Bach/ Busoni ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’, but instead we move into the realm of alchemy and Theosophy with Scriabin’s Vers la flamme (linked to the church theme rather tenuously via the ‘refiner’s fire’ of Malachi). The recording is acceptable but loses some focus in the mid-range.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2021 - ©Rhinegold Publishing