Marius Dawn
February 2017

Anyone recording Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto must have something special to say when practically all the great pianists in history have placed their stamp on this virtuoso warhorse. Alexandra Dariescu plays it safe in an interpretation where all the notes are played well and there are no sudden surprises. Pletnev's arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite, however, shows that here is a pianist with something special to say. The celesta part of The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy rings ot with bell-like clarity and the Trepak is piano-playing at the highest virtuoso level. That she also makes the piano sing in the concluding Apotheosis is another example of her strong musicianship. The recording places the piano clearly in the centre of the sound picture, which complements Dariescu's rhythmic clarity, not least in her whimsical account of the 'Tarantella'.