SCRIABIN Preludes. Piano Sonata No 10 LISZT Late Works
Scriabin’s early 24 Preludes, Op 11, suggests that dreams and occasional nightmares can also be the soul of wit. And if 26-year-old Philipp Kopachevsky is haunting in confidentiality, he is no less powerful in storm and stress. How he relishes the gazelle-like leaps of No 8, the whimsy of No 11 or the luminous, Chopin-inspired (his Prelude No 5) arabesques of No 23. Fluent and relaxed at one level, and playing as if to an audience of friends late at night, he is no less responsive to Scriabin’s volatility and uncertain temper. There is a smouldering build-up to the apocalyptic blaze of Vers la flamme, and if his Tenth Sonata is less suitably violent and crazed than that of Horowitz, whose febrile temperament was ideally suited to such music, it is never less than sensitive to a world of stabbing trills and obsessive wheeling around a single idea.
Kopachevsky’s Liszt is arguably less convincing, unduly rapid and cool in En rêve (try Benjamin Grosvenor, on his first Decca disc – 10/11 – for greater subtlety and colour), less than ideally focused in the Third Mephisto Waltz’s driven, disjunct poetry. And although nimble-fingered in the sinister, skittering play of the Bagatelle sans tonalité, it again needs the sharper rhythmic focus shown by Peter Donohoe in his early EMI recording. Piano Classics’ sound is close but warm, but this is something of a mixed bag.