Melba Recordings

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Turok’s Choice (US)
Paul Turok

Rachmaninov’s two piano sonatas are smoothly played by Leslie Howard. The First, difficulty as it is, has no textual problems. It is complicated music, though. The slow movement is rambling. The finale is more definite music than the other movements; the listener is able to understand the rhythmic basis and the melodic content. The Second, which the composer considered prolix, was revised, cutting out most of the piece. Howard uses the original (long) edition of the Second Sonata, which seems to be the preferred version these days. The writing in the first movement is florid, with a second theme that is recognizable. The slow movement has simpler textures, and is basically melody with accompaniment. The finale is virtuosic, with clever diminution of some melodies. (Horowitz used a pastiche of the original and revised editions.) The disc also includes Three Pieces the composer wrote in 1917, and an arrangement of “Nunc Dimitas” from Rachmaninov’s Vespers. Howard has the technique and understanding to play these works brilliantly. The disc is recommended.