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This is an intelligently structured recital, shifting back and forth through time, built around the complete (more or less) Impromptus of Chopin, Fauré ANDSCRIABIN; only the latter’s Op 7 Impromptus à la Mazur are missing. The Scriabin pieces, published in pairs, provide the programme’s framework, with the early Op 2/3 of 1889 as an encore. Between the first two sets come Fauré’s five Impromptus in chronological sequence, crowned by Cortot’s transcription of the D-flat major Impromptufor harp from 1904. Between the second pairs of Scriabin lie Chopin’s three Impromptus (1837, 1838 and 1842) and the earlier Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor (1834).

The three composers’ views of the form are quite individual and Apekisheva is an impeccable guide though their shifting textures. The Russian’s dreamy and spectral pieces were indebted to the Pole’s clearer- eyed, polished gems, while the Frenchman’s wholly individual takes on the genre invented by Voříšek and refined by Schubert recapture the range of those antecedents rather than holding to the Chopinesque.

This is a marvellously engineered disc, capturing Apekisheva’s beautifully nuanced tone and playing. Her most winning accounts are of Fauré’s six Impromptus, the most varied sequence, which are stronger public statements than the more intimate utterances of Scriabin; Chopin’s lie somewhere in-between, the products perhaps of improvisations to small groups or parties.

Apekisheva is very good at catching that fusion of control and freedom – the very essence of the Impromptu. Still, no matter how freewheeling the performance, nothing is left to chance. A fascinating and engrossing album.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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