The liner notes of this album inform listeners that pianist Goran Filipec, all of 25 years old at the time of recording, wishes to define himself as an artist by his performance of the virtuosic repertoire of the Romantic era. To this end, he has chosen Rachmaninov's Sonata and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. While these two great works certainly fit the bill of bravura Romantic works, their performances on this album differ sharply in their success. First comes the Rachmaninov, which is by far the most enjoyable work on the album. Filipec's technique easily accommodates everything the composer asks of the performer, and even the most difficult passages are clean and lucid. But what is most enjoyable about the performance is Filipec's sound and impeccable sense of timing. At his hands, the piano emits a dark, symphonic, and powerful yet well-rounded and full sound that is not unlike Ashkenazy's approach to the instrument. Filipec's pacing is quite thoughtful, with broad Brahmsian hemiolas, well-considered rubatos, and choices of tempo accentuate the music underlying the technique. In contrast, the Mussorgsky is, in a word, metronomic. During the Promenades, the click keeping the beat can easily be imagined. This rigidity plagues most of the other movements, as well, resulting in a quite dull performance. Even Filipec's sound is less appealing here. While the Rachmaninov was always huge and sweeping, the Mussorgsky comes across as small and careful.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36|
|Morceaux de fantaisie (5), for piano, Op. 3|
|Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for piano|