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Kissin Climbs the Peaks

*** 1/2 BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme of Paganini; BEETHOVEN: "Moonlight" Sonata; FRANCK: Prelude, Choral et Fugue. Evgeny Kissin, piano. (RCA Victor Red Seal/BMG)

April 19, 1998|Daniel Cariaga

No eccentricities or personality quirks here. The 26-year-old Kissin, who has at times been unpredictable in probing the standard repertory, gives sensible, followable and eminently musical readings to these complex peaks of the literature. He brings pristine colors and Classic restraint to Beethoven's Opus 27, No. 2, an analyst's clarification of one of Franck's beloved triptychs, and makes the musical convolutions and technical knots in both books of Brahms' inventive "Paganini" Variations thoroughly apprehendable. It is a joy and a provocation to be in the same room with Kissin's mind.

*

Recordings are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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