Vladimir Sofronitsky ranks on a par with Rubinstein and Rachmaninov.
He was admired by Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Horovitz recognized
hios unique talent and Glazunov named him "one of the outstanding
Russian pianists". "There is a seal of something inexplicable,
almost super-natural and mysterious in his performance" - Heinrich
On this disc Sofronitsky plays Shumann - Arabesque, Carnival, Des
Total time 66.14
The Russian company Vista
Vera has now embarked on its own Sofronitsky programme.
An individualist of powerful personality…
Certainly these Schumann performances enshrine uneven musicianship
which at its best rises to exceptionally eloquent heights but which
can also rely on less immediately appealing characteristics. In
Carnaval for instance he takes time - understandably - to warm up
but also indulges in some precipitous voicings and some harsh accents
(in Preambule), quixotic tempo acceleration (Pierrot) and heavy
handed phrasing (Coquette). This is the kind of performance to be
judged on its own terms and reference to say, Rachmaninov's or Myra
Hess's legendary recordings is best put to one side. Sofronitsky
is aptly full of vigour and incisive rhythm in Lettres dansantes
(though his speed here is relatively sedate) but does tend to make
a bit of a meal of the rubato, voicings and dichotomy between rough
rhythm and legato in Estrella.
Kreisleriana amplifies these occasional extremes of response. In
places he's quite expansive, and he tends to prefer relaxed nobility
of rhythm to say, Horowitz's sense of momentum. That said his gravity
and weighted chords in the fourth of the pieces (Sehr Langsam) is
undeniably affecting and taken at a convincing tempo. Arabesque
is also fine and an attractive reading.
Uneven yes but unsettlingly human and with a technique still able
to cope with most demands, Sofronitsky remains one of the troubling
giants of post-War pianism.
The full text of the review see on www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev