- Piano Sonata
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Russian-American pianist Natasha Paremski (she became a U.S. citizen at eight) was a teenage prodigy and has been a fixture on American and international concert circuits. She's capable of a sharp, percussive tone that grabs one's attention, and she has brought freshness to some of the old virtuoso warhorses. That category is represented here by Balakirev's "Islamey," which the composer himself, a noted player of showpieces, admitted was beyond him. From Paremski you get a rip-roaring performance, but really the way it's set up is the main thing here. The Steinway & Sons label, which has devoted itself to exploring the piano recital and its possibilities, was just the right career move for Paremski at this point. The novelty is the edgy performance of the Brahms "Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 2," placed at the beginning of the program and used as a sort of storehouse of motivic energy to be pent up and released over the course of the program. You wouldn't want it as your only Brahms "No. 2," but here it works in an unusual way; sample the finale for an idea. The program proceeds through a neo-Romantic sonata written for Paremski by Gabriel Kahane (also an idea that fits here) and the thorny, technically punishing "Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major, Op. 83," of Prokofiev before exploding into the Balakirev finale. The program was not recorded at a single take; the first ten tracks come from a 2010 recording, while the Balakirev was added from a 2015 session at a different location (Steinway Hall, vs. a State University of New York at Purchase auditorium for the earlier performances). No matter: the program hangs together and stimulates even as it dazzles, with the Balakirev as a new finale that tops even the considerable challenges of the Prokofiev. Highly recommended.
|Label:||Steinway & Sons|