The Strad Issue: May 2015
Description: Eloquent, expressively performed transcriptions of piano preludes and songs
Musicians: Boris Andrianov (cello) Rem Urasin (piano)
Composer: Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff

Enterprising, imaginative and brilliantly executed, this CD is almost faultless, even if the recorded sound is perhaps a bit too resonant for my taste. Rem Urasin has made some extremely adept arrangements of 15 of Shostakovich’s Preludes for solo piano – so much so that one could envisage them being original works, surely the best accolade that could be attached to any transcription. Andrianov and Urasin encapsulate the energy and character of these striking miniatures with intensity and razor-sharp precision, providing a sequence that maximises diversity of character and emotion. They deliver a wonderfully lyrical performance of no.7 in the manner of the opening passage of the Cello Sonata, and are suitably whimsical in no.2. A veil of reflective melancholy graces their rendition of no.3; but when the so-called Velocity study of no.5 bounds on to the stage, dazzling with scales and brilliant figuration, that calm is instantly dispelled.

Eleven Romances by Rachmaninoff – containing sumptuous melodic invention, often tinged with melancholy but always bedecked with a glorious array of richly chromatic golden harmonies – are just as attractive, particularly in Urasin’s idiomatic transcriptions. Among the most eloquent is the haunting ‘Oh no, I beg you, do not leave’ but there are so many here that are captivating, each one performed with sensitivity and expressive depth. A fantastic CD.