The main attractions of Costas Fotopoulos Plays Rachmaninov & Fotopoulos are the three works by Sergey Rachmaninov -- the Three Études Tableaux, Op. 39, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42, and the Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36 -- which are famous repertoire, played here with considerable fire and virtuosity. Fans of aggressive and energetic performances will like Fotopoulos' vigorous playing, and the bright, metallic tone he elicits from the piano makes the music quite electric. Yet Fotopoulos is capable of grace and gentleness, which is most apparent in the Corelli Variations, particularly as the music progresses into more introspective areas. The one curiosity of this album that listeners can take or leave is Fotopoulos' own impressionistic Toccata, which displays a high degree of flash and technical know-how, but seems lightweight and facile, especially when it is surrounded on all sides by Rachmaninov's imposing music. Fotopoulos is a composer of some prominence, noted for his film work and jazz, but this Toccata seems a minor effort that reveals little of his true talents. The recording overall is a little harsh, due to being recorded at Dukes Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London, which sounds like a drafty recital space with too much resonance, but the microphone placement makes the piano sound distant and shallow.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Three Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 39|
|Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42|
|Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36|