Anna Vinnitskaya

Ravel

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Russian pianist Anna Vinnitskaya came to public attention with a couple of major prizes late in the 2000s decade and has since made several recordings of technically fearsome repertory from the early 20th century. If you're the type who likes to skip straight to the action scenes, sample the fireworks of "Scarbo," from the suite Gaspard de la nuit, where it becomes clear that Vinnitskaya has all the technical equipment that could be desired. But she has also developed interpretive charisma to go along with the technical mastery. Hear how artfully the pedal is used in the opening phrases of "Scarbo" to deepen the response of the low piano utterances to the difficult repeated-note figures. In Miroirs, composed several years earlier, Vinnitskaya never bogs down in technical detail and achieves a real sense of the mystery contemporary listeners must have heard in these pieces: the insistent tonal stasis of "Oiseaux tristes," the transfigured Spanish style of Alborada del gracioso, the slightly surreal La Vallée des cloches. Naïve's engineers, working at the Jesus Christus Kirche in Berlin, capture the full range of a recording with a remarkable dynamic spectrum, as compelling in its quiet moments as it is in the fireworks. Highly recommended.

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