96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Sony Classical 88875170032 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
The works in the Georgian pianist’s new programme – Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, Ravel’s La Valse and the three scenes from Petrushka which Stravinsky transcribed for Rubinstein – make huge technical demands. But Buniatishvili says she chose them more for their artistic associations: painting, dance and puppetry. Using a huge range of keyboard colours every possible wisp of characterisation is seized upon and personalised: these are polar opposites to the ‘straight’ Paul Lewis Pictures or Pollini Petrushka, and I found them utterly seductive. Each ‘Promenade’ in the Mussorgsky is treated differently, while the brilliant ‘Limoges Market’ or the hatching chicks are fresh and vibrant. The Ravel, though, is a touch too wild for me – try the live Verbier version by Yuja Wang [YouTube]. And why do some balances shift to stick your face right inside the piano? CB
Sound Quality: 85%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
This clean recording of piano clearly illustrates the limited ~15kHz bandwidth of the instrument. Files that show peaks out to 20-30kHz with solo piano are highlighting distortion, not music. So is a 96kHz sample rate really necessary? PM
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