Outstanding debut album from grandson of Tatyana Nikolayeva

Reflections

Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev (piano)

On the evidence of this first CD release from Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, the second prize winner at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition, Tarasevich-Nikolaev is someone whose career should be worth following closely. He has clearly inherited a good proportion of Tatyana Nikolayeva’s genes! (I have a CD of the great Russian, Soviet pianist performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 with Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra!)

This strangely titled album, Reflections, is focussed, like Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev’s Sydney repertoire, around works by the Russian romantics. Despite the unimaginative title (taken from the cover shot?) this is a CD well worth exploring. It opens with Rachmaninov’s six Moments Musicaux, Op. 16 and you will not find a more melancholic performance of the first of these that will almost break your heart. This contrasts with numbers 4 and 6 in which the pianist really lets go in a suitably loud and furious fashion. Here is a young man capable of playing with great contrast. The colour that Tarasevich-Nikolaev injects into two of Medtner’s Forgotten Melodies Book I, Op.38 and Deux poèmes, Op. 32 by Scriabin is quite wonderful. However the centrepiece of this debut recital is an intriguing account of Prokofiev’s Visions fugitives, Op. 22. The recital ends with two of his grandmother’s 24 Concert Etudes, Op. 13 which I had not previously encountered. In all there is over eighty minutes of fine pianism, expertly recorded in the fine acoustic of Potton Hall in Suffolk and I would strongly urge you to explore these performances for yourself.

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