CHOPIN; FAURÉ; SCRIABIN Impromptus (Katya Apekisheva)
Taking roughly a reverse chronology, Katya Apekisheva intersperses three pairs of Scriabin Impromptus with the six of Fauré and four of Chopin, finishing the disc with Scriabin’s earliest, his Impromptu à la mazur. The 80-minute ceiling leaves her just short of presenting all Scriabin’s contributions, depriving us of the two à la mazur in Op 7. In compensation, throughout the programme, Apekisheva is responsive to the unscripted and spontaneous nature of the genre, while maintaining seamless phrasing and flawless tonal control.
According to her foreword to the booklet, the disc was inspired by her interest in Fauré’s music in general and his Impromptus in particular. However, it is Scriabin’s idiom that comes across as closest to her instincts. Hear her weaving of the exquisite tapestry of Op 14 No 2, for example, against which she sets his sorrowful reflections with tasteful pedalling and perfumed textures. True, her rubato is on the indulgent side. Compared to Sofronitsky’s noble rendition of Op 12 No 2 (Vista Vera, etc), which is about as close as we can get to a historical authority, Apekisheva is drawn more towards surface beauty than to the heart of darkness. Similarly, while her avowed affinity with Fauré is evident in her mercurial poetry, it is Germaine Thyssens-Valentin who finds the nuanced dark undertones that distance these pieces more definitively from salon music.
Apekisheva’s Chopin offers some charming reminders of Scriabin’s early obsession, and though Murray Perahia is surely better attuned temperamentally to the Allegro assai quasi presto of the first Impromptu, for instance, the fact that she invites such elevated comparisons itself indicates the high order of her pianism. Recording quality is good, though the acoustic does not comfortably absorb the forcefulness of some of the fortissimos.