Rachmaninoff 24 Preludes for Piano

Marta Deyanova first achieved critical recognition in 1964, when she won First Prize at the Third National Competition for Children and Young Performers in her native Bulgaria, an early success which she soon consolidated with a Gold Medal at the Busoni International Competition in Italy in 1965 and the First Prize at the Ninth World Youth Festival in Sofia (1967). She went on to win the First Prize at the Cassagrande International Piano Competition in Italy, was a Laureate at Montreal in 1971 and the following year won the First Prize at the Fifth Biennial of Laureates of International Competitions in Bordeaux. She also won the First Prize at the First International Tribune for Young Performers in Paris in 1969 organised by UNESCO. The jury unanimously selected her to take part in the first Classical MIDEM in Cannes. Yehudi Menuhin, chairing the jury, wrote: "I wish Marta Deyanova the international career she so richly deserves." A short time later, the eminent violinist Henryk Szeryng wrote: "Marta Deyanova is a really exceptional pianist. Her qualities as an instrumentalist and musician place her at the highest level of world pianism."



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"The Bulgarian Marta Deyanova, previously heard on Nimbus in Scriabin and Shostakovich Preludes, impresses with an extraordinary, all-encompassing technique."

Igor Kipnis, Stereophile

On the whole this is a very enjoyable set of performances of Rachmaninov Preludes. Hackneyed pieces create special problems for interpreters, none more so than the initial Prelude in C sharp minor Op. 3 No. 2. But Miss Deyanova makes it sound quite fresh and, unlike many players, resists the strong temptation to increase the tempo on the last page. Opus 23 No. 1 in F sharp minor and No. 6 in E flat major sound beautifully spontaneous in effect, like improvisations. The D minor Prelude Op. 23 No. 3, marked Tempo di Minuetto, is taken too quickly, but the nocturnal Op. 23 No. 4 in D major is quite lovely.

Miss Deyanova has plenty of technique, as the Preludes in B flat major and C minor Op. 23 Nos. 2 and 7 demonstrate. And she also produces a finely cultivated tone, as in the outer sections of Op. 32 No. 10 in B major or in the most songful of this later set, No. 5 in G major and No. 12 in G sharp minor. Much is made, also, of the G flat major, the last Prelude of the Op. 23 group, a slow, two-page little work that tends to be treated as a fairly perfunctory postscript.

I admire, too, the finely graduated way the transitions are managed in the G minor Prelude Op. 23 No. 5, from the opening section’s ceremonial intensity to the lyricism of its central Poco pia mosso and back again. All these performances are excellently recorded, the piano having a perfectly natural sound.

M.H. Gramophone

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