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As Autumn draws in, there is usually a bumper selection of new piano recordings to enjoy, and this year is proving no exception.
In recent weeks, several major artists have released recordings which explore unusual territory, adding to the interest of their programmes. Streaming these latest issues, I have heard superlative pianism and moments of supreme beauty and inspiration. Sadly though, I must also admit that some albums I had high hopes for have ultimately left me disappointed, proving perhaps that novelty as an end in itself is not always the best route.
Enter Beatrice Rana with her latest CD for Warner Classics. Following on from her stunning and highly acclaimed recording of Ravel and Stravinsky a couple of years ago (my Recording of the Month here), Rana’s latest disc is a recital of Chopin, comprising his 12 Études Op.25 and the Four Scherzi.
And that’s it. No obscurities, DJ collaborations or electronic noodling thrown in to entice the punters, nor even an encore bonbon to sweeten what is essentially a rather dark programme.
But Rana’s programme is, in my view, the most audacious of all. It is perhaps easier to impress with music that is lesser known; to tackle two such beloved monuments of the piano repertoire and breathe fresh, invigorating life and artistic illumination into them: well, that’s a significant challenge!
And – big sigh – Rana succeeds.
This new recording is in a word: magnificent.