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ALLA BREVE: CHOPIN, RAVEL

July 20, 1986|ALLAN ULRICH

CHOPIN: SONATA IN B-FLAT MINOR; FOUR BALLADES. Andrei Gavrilov, piano. Angel CDC 7 47344 2 (compact disc). Gavrilov may be a paragon of pianism, but he's not a poet--yet. The CD format emphasizes the least cherishable aspect of his playing, the steely sonority he draws from virtually any instrument. The sonata barely withstands the ferocious, consistently underlined pounding lavished upon it in this perhaps inappropriately brittle reading, which finds barely any breathing space for the introspective Funeral March. Yet Gavrilov turns his incisive technique to admirable ends in his impetuous traversal of the ballades, mining the youthful drama of the G-minor and the mature wisdom of the F-minor for all their considerable worth.

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