Here's an independent release from the small city of Lansing, MI, in the U.S. Midwest. The generic Reflections title and kitchen table graphic design don't promise much, but the contents deliver. Russian-American pianist Dmitri Vorobiev has a distinctive style and forges well-thought-out readings of familiar repertory. He shines especially in the opening Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110, of Beethoven. There is no shortage of recordings of this sonata, but Vorobiev goes counter to recent pianists who push the tempi and bang through the Allegro molto second movement, turning it into a piece of demonic Lisztian humor. Vorobiev's entire reading is restrained and delicate, with the second movement becoming more of a slightly humorous minuet like the one in the Symphony No. 8. In the slow movement, the piano's unexpected repeated high note is not treated as an outburst of agony, but is kept within the structural bounds of the movement in a novel treatment and is quite effective. Lyricism pervades the entire sonata and even extends into the final fugue, diverting the listener's attention toward the rhythmic shifts that occur toward the end where the quiet spell is broken. The lyrical mood continues throughout the collection of shorter pieces that round out the program, with Scriabin readings that emphasize their roots in Chopin and some lovely, introspective Chopin playing, although some listeners will want more energy in the Ballade No. 4, Op. 52. Liszt's lush arrangement of Schumann's song Widmung brings the program to a gorgeous close. The engineering from the small Blue Griffin label is above average.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110|