The title Russian Transcriptions for these works by pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov doesn't give the artist quite enough credit: they are not simply reworkings for piano of music originally composed in other media, but rather arrangements that creatively adapt the music for maximum effect. As such, they fall into a long tradition, but one that has been neglected. Gryaznov is more purely a product of the Russian School than many of his compatriots, although there has been an American aspect to his career that has resulted in the present recording. He has written some 30 of these arrangements, and even if it's a shame not to hear his Rhapsody in Black, based on Gershwin, that's understandable in view of the focus on Russian material here. At any rate, this is a welcome return to a grand tradition. There is virtuosity aplenty, perhaps in unexpected places (sample the little Italian Polka of Rachmaninov), but really the most fun are the pieces that draw attention to the player as a poetic figure: the little-heard ballet music On the Dnieper, Op. 51, of Prokofiev, comes alive in Gryaznov's flexible, lovingly shaped renderings. Gryaznov, born on a Russian Pacific island, is an artist to watch, developing outside the constraints placed on the flood of Russian musicians jockeying for a place in the British scene, and that he has found his way to the American Steinway & Sons label, which has devoted itself to reconstructing the virtuoso past, is cause for celebration.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|String Quartet No. 2|
|On the Dnieper, Op. 51a|