S. Rachmaninov, Préludes, B. Berezovsky
Berezovsky plays the ten Préludes, op. 23, the thirteen Préludes, op. 32, and the Préludes en ut dièse mineur, op. 3, no. 2, on this almost 80-minute-long disc. The latter are roughly contemporary to the Debussy préludes while the earliest (and most famous), the c-sharp minor, is the second from a set of five short piano pieces written in 1891. Except the 1891 F major and 1917 D minor prélude (generally known as the Andante ma non troppo), all of Rachmaninov’s préludes are included here. Completists are pointed in the direction of Idil Biret’s recording of those two works, appropriately coupled with the Prélude-based Variations on a Theme of Chopin – Naxos 8.554426). I don’t know exactly what it is that makes Berezovsky communicate these works like I have never heard before, not with Ashkenazy, Alexeev, or Shelley… but he does and I delight in the immediacy of his playing, the enthusiasm he brings to and from the préludes, the way he involves me as a listener. And Berezovsky only gets better as he gets along in these works. At least as far as I and my troubled relationship to Rachmaninov’s solo piano works are concerned, this is as good as it gets.