96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Acousence Classics ACO-12214 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

The Moscow composer-pianist Alexander Scriabin wrote his first five piano sonatas between 1893 and 1907; the other five date from 1911-13 (Nos 5-10 are in single-movt form). They show a development from a Chopin-influenced style – eg, ‘Funèbre’ in Sonata 1 – to one where ‘the tonic became distantly perspectived… existing only in the imagination’. Some have associated texts or sub-texts. Also Moscow trained, Anna Malikova made her recordings in a German studio in Feb/March of 2012, ’13 and ’14, playing a Shigeru Kawai pianoforte – then a newly launched model. She’s obviously committed to this music, a thoughtful player who doesn’t use any of it as a ‘showpiece’ (contrast Daniil Trifonov's Piano Sonata No. 2 from The Carnegie Recital on DG). The question is: will the listener unfamiliar with these sonatas be persuaded that it’s more than Rachmaninov without the tunes? CB

Sound Quality: 75%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

A genuine 96kHz rendering but one – as we’ve seen with solo piano in the past – where the >40kHz available bandwidth is utilised more by ‘ambience’ than musical harmonics that rarely exceed 15kHz [Prestissimo volando, graphed above]. PM