November/December 2006

Piano Sonata No. 1, Op.1. Variations on a Theme by Schumann, Op. 9. Four Ballades, Op. 10
Oleg Marshev (pf)
Danacord DACOCD 643

Marshev, born in the USSR and living now in Italy, has been on the international scene for some years; his US debut was in 1991. For Danacord he has made some 30 CDs, mostly of unusual repertory: the complete solo music of Prokofieff, Emil von Sauer’s complete piano music, four discs of Danish piano concertos, and so forth.

Marshev shows a strong affinity for Brahms. He has the strength and control to clarify the thick textures of the sonata beautifully. The quicker variations in the Schumann set reveal a great technique, while others call forth soft, romantic playing of great tenderness. Marshev has the equipment for virtuoso playing, but he is looking for other values, and his tempos tend to be moderate. The Ballades give further opportunity for him to explore wide range of moods and colors.

In short, this is a wonderful recital from pianist who should do more Brahms. In the early works he finds more musical values than most rivals and makes the music that much more interesting.