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  • Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone


"Schaghajegh Nosrati (b1989, Bochum, Germany), a new name to me, is one of very few women pianists to have recorded any Alkan. She begins with a selection of three pieces from the 48 Esquisses (miniature tone poems published in 1861), which alone give an idea of the variety and range of his output. In ‘Le vision’ (No 1), ‘Le staccatissimo’ (No 2) and ‘En songe’ (No 48) you get in turn a plaintive piece of disarming simplicity, a virtuoso staccato study and an experimental dreamlike essay in which the pianist is requested to keep both pedals depressed all the way through, ending with the unusual instruction svaporandosi (Alkan’s Italian for ‘evaporating’). The devilishly tricky Toccatina follows (one of his final works), then five more Esquisses including ‘Les soupirs’ (Sighs), which to the innocent ear could easily pass for Debussy. These are punctuated by a work without opus number, the Étude alla barbaro. Personally, I think Esquisses are far more effective when cherry-picked like this – and Nosrati characterises each one with great eloquence and empathy – though if you want to hear all four books in sequence look no further than Steven Osborne (Hyperion, 9/03). (...) She is unreservedly a musician with a formidable technique. Moreover, the piano is very well recorded – and she adds her own most perceptive essay on the music. Brava!"

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