La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rachmaninov: 24 Préludes

Mathieu Gaudet, piano
XXI 1622 (CD1: 39 min 47 s; CD2: 41 min 1 s)
Rachnaninov’s Preludes spanned his career and are rarely performed complete. In this recording Matthieu Gaudet performs all 24, demonstrating the full range of the composer. Rachmaninov is often remembered for the complexity of his writing but the Preludes highlight his subtly. Gaudet explores this, most notably in the slower pieces. No.10 in G flat major calls for patience and a light touch; the action lies in the harmony, not the tempo or the volume.
The recording also highlights Gaudet’s control, particularly in the G minor prelude. It opens with a subtle jaunt and fades to a Chopin-esque fantasia in the middle. The ending is bold, in traditional Rachmaninov style. Gaudet does not hesitate to reach a full fortissimo in the final section. Overall, his performance on this album is wonderful and full of passion.

- Andrew Buziak

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