Abdel Rahman El Bacha has established a strong reputation for interpreting the keyboard music of Sergey Prokofiev, most notably for performing and recording the five piano concertos with authority, but also for playing the solo piano works with brilliance. In fact, El Bacha began his recording career in 1981 with an album of Prokofiev's early piano music, released in 1983 on Forlane, which won an award that was presented to him by Lina Prokofiev, the composer's widow. For this 2011 disc on Mirare, El Bacha returns to the works of the youthful Prokofiev, which he composed prior to leaving Russia in 1918. The Toccata, the Ten Pieces, the Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Sarcasms, and Visions fugitives reveal not only a genius writing elegant music for virtuosos, but one who was still exploring all the possibilities of modernism. El Bacha treats the music with considerable freedom and changes moods as frequently as the pieces do, offering a mix of brusque physicality and smooth sophistication that keeps the listener constantly guessing. The recording is clear and focused with close microphone placement, so El Bacha's playing has full presence and crisp articulation, with the added benefit of responsive recital hall acoustics, which are pleasantly resonant without being echoic.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Dix Pièces pour piano, Op. 12|
|Sonate No. 2 en ré mineur, Op. 14|
|Sarcasmes, Op. 17|
|Visions fugitives, Op. 22|