Olga Kern, Rachmaninov: Sonata No.2; Balakirev: Islamey

Anastasia Tsioulcas

By Anastasia Tsioulcas

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Rachmaninov: Sonata No.2; Balakirev: Islamey

Olga Kern

Olga Kern was the first-prize winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn competition and has since become a major hit on the touring circuit. She certainly has the goods, and the Russian pianist amply demonstrates her gifts on this recording, which also includes Rachmaninov's "Cinq Morceaux de Fantasie," Liadov's "Musical Snuffbox" and Taneyev's Prelude and Fugue, Op. 29. Kern matches her gargantuan sound and virtuosic technique with an innately sensitive grasp of this music, a quality that seems to be a genetic inheritance — her great-great-grandmother was a friend of Tchaikovsky, and her great-grandmother sang with Rachmaninov.