Dmitriy Sokolov, Chopin: 24 Preludes, Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition

Gavin Borchert

By Gavin Borchert

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Moody takes on the innovative early Romantic sound.

The early Romantics not only expanded music's scope, they contracted it too. The brief, exquisite miniature for piano became an important form: as a vehicle for poetic and literary evocations as well as a sort of laboratory for harmonic experimentation. Chopin was a trailblazer in discovering delicate new harmonic subtleties; the “Prelude in A Minor,” to take the most startling example in this set of 24 (written 1836-39), anticipates the sounds of a century to come in two amazing minutes of slithering tonal ambiguity. Dmitriy Sokolov's performances have a smoldering, captivating moodiness to them; if you didn't know who was playing, you actually might guess it was a Russian. (Also on this CD: the colorful cycle Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky, no slouch himself in the innovation department.)