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Two chorales Op 122 Nos 3 and 7, originally for organ, begin this fascinating journey through Brahms’ music. Nada’s selection includes a mix of familiar and rare repertoire spanning the composer’s creative life. This is her fourth foray into Brahms, and her most successful.

There is much to admire, particularly the energy and flavour of the Hungarian Dances. The thread of the Theme and Variations in D minor sometimes gets lost, but the Schumann Variations are excellent, with sterling fingerwork and a reluctance to over-pedal. The early Etude after Chopin Op 25/2, written when Brahms was just 19, is beautiful and evinces more perfectly judged pedal.

The Second Piano Sonata enters a very different world: one feels Brahms’ rigour in the first movement and daring in the pared- down textures of the second, but the final two movements tend to sag.

A mixed bag worth exploring.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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