Laure Favre-Kahn

Rachmaninov

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There's no doubt that she means it. From the first crashing notes of the Second Sonata, Laure Favre-Kahn's Rachmaninov recital is deeply felt and strongly expressive. And there's no doubt that she can play it. No matter how many notes Rachmaninov squeezes into the score, Favre-Kahn can fit them all into her performances. What's doubtful is whether or not Favre-Kahn has the strength to play Rachmaninov. She has the speed -- listen to the sonata's closing Allegro molto -- she has the dexterity -- listen to the Prelude in G sharp minor, Op. 32 -- she has the panache -- listen to the Pulcinelle from the Cinq Morceaux de fantasie. But she conspicuously lacks the sheer muscle mass for Rachmaninov -- listen to her lightweight Prelude in C sharp minor form the Cinq Morceaux or her featherweight Prelude in C minor, Op. 23. Still, when Rachmaninov isn't throwing buckets of notes at the pianist, Favre-Kahn proves herself a fine pianist with a warm tone and a long, lyrical line -- listen to the Mélodie from the Cinq Morceaux or especially her lovely Prelude in B minor, Op. 32. While one imagines that Favre-Kahn would be a superb Chopin player, she's playing out of her weight class in Rachmaninov. Transart's sound is dry, hard and too close.

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