Review by: Jed Distler
Artistic Quality: 7
Sound Quality: 8
If you’ve heard Nelly Akopian-Tamarina’s self-indulgent Schumann and glacially slow Brahms recordings, you’ll know what to expect from these 2008/09 live Wigmore Hall performances. In fairness, Chopin’s more introspective Mazurkas such as the C minor Op. 56 No. 3, C-sharp minor Op. 50 No. 3, A minor Op. 17 No. 4, and E minor Op. 41 No. 2 can absorb slowness and a certain degree of self-indulgence. On the other hand, Akopian-Tamarina’s elongations of pulse in the B-flat Op. 17 No. 2 Mazurka turn the middle section’s cross-rhythmic effects into mush.
While her rhetorical fancies and endless rubatos dissipate the momentum and inner urgency characterizing Janácek’s In the Mists, they also intensify the music’s speech-like syntax with ear-catching tonal shadings. Likewise, Akopian-Tamarina stretches out her Medtner Fairy Tale and Liadov Mazurka “encores” to the proverbial max, yet she manages to hold your attention every second. The problem is that the more you listen, the more Akopian-Tamarina’s all-purpose slow-motion interpretive formula grows predictable and even tiresome, so it’s best to sample her artistry in small doses.
Album Title: Slavonic Reflections
Reference Recording: Janácek: Firkusny (DG), Chopin: Ohlsson (Hyperion)
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN: Mazurkas (selected)
LEOŠ JANÁCEK: In the Mists
NIKOLAI MEDTNER: Fairy Tale Op. 26 No. 3
ANATOLY LIADOV: Mazurka Op. 57 No. 3
- Nelly Akopian-Tamarina (piano)