Mûza Rubackyté

Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues

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Whatever one wants in Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues -- wit, whimsy, passion, tenderness, optimism, pessimism -- it's there in these performances by the young Lithuanian pianist Mûza Rubackyté. She has the technique to play everything in the score -- gnarly textures, massive sonorities, hurtling tempos, and more. She has the intellect to articulate everything in the score -- backwards, forwards, upside-down, and sideways, double, triple, and quadruple fugues and more. But best of all, Rubackyté has the depth of soul and bigness of heart to express everything in the score. Written while he was under proscription by the Soviet composer's union, Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues are his most overtly traditional works. Here, the iconoclastic modernism of his earlier works is entirely excised, replaced by statement, counter-statement, augmentation, diminution, inversion, and stretto. But that doesn't mean Shostakovich has lightened the music's intensity. Far from it: the Preludes and Fugues are also among the composer's most emotionally loaded works -- and Rubackyté expresses their emotional content with the same brilliance she brings to their technical and intellectual content. While hardcore Shostakovich fans may not want to give up their recordings of the Preludes and Fugues by Tatiana Nikolayeva and Vladimir Ashkenazy, they may want to make room between them on their shelves for Mûza Rubackyté. Brilliant's sound is reserved and recessed.

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