Bold, turbulent defiance sits alongside pained introspection and bittersweet reverie in this penetrating recital of Brahms piano works by the acclaimed young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin in his eagerly awaited second recording for Pentatone.
The seven pieces comprising the Fantasias, Op. 116 are quite different in mood but are nevertheless intricately constructed to produce poetic miniatures of great depth and sonority, requiring sensitive artistry to convey their sense of unity and poignancy.
Brahms is in a more full-bloodied and demonstrative mood with the four character pieces in the much earlier Ballades, Op. 10, but these too show moments of transcendent beauty. And in the rarely heard Theme andRead more Variations, Op. 18b, Brahms's sumptuous and instantly seductive arrangement of the second movement of his String Sextet, he produces an arresting and magisterial work with exquisite tone coloration and a hushed, sublime ending.
These are masterfully crafted renditions, expressive and passionate, perfect in their timing, phrasing, and dynamic structure, as well as grandly conceived in scope.