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Lebrecht's Album of the Week

A talented pianist and a battered piano

Bezhod Abduraimov: Shadows of my ancestors (Alpha-Classics)


The Uzbek pianist Abduraimov burst onto the scene a dozen years ago with a pair of outstanding Prokofiev recordings for Decca. He returns on a smaller label with a crashingly energetic account of ten pieces from the same composer’s Romeo and Juliet. His energy is so high that one fears for the unnamed piano, which plinks quite desperately at the top.

In the more sentimental pieces of the set, Abduraimov melts the listener’s heart like spring snows. He is a gifted manipulator of emotion and we ought to hear a lot more of him in major recital halls. His account here of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit is shadowy to the point of ghostly menace, not to be consumed in the hours before sleep.

That’s half the album title. The latter half is problematic. Abduraimov plays “The Walls of Ancient Bukhara” by a senior compatriot composer, Dilorom Saidaminova, who is 80 this year. The piece appears to be a fly-trap for tourists. It is full of exotic sights and native sounds but not a lot of structure, coherence or substance. This may go down well in Tashkent, less well elsewhere.

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