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Record Box

Characterisation

Piano preludes by César Cui,
heard by BASIL RAMSEY


Naxos    8.555557

César Cui: 25 Preludes Op 64 (c) 2002 HNH International Ltd

 

Most countries seem to gauge their home-grown composers by rule-of-thumb, which generally admits some casual manipulation of facts. It matters not as long as those of real talent obtain suitable exposure. I'm uncertain of the rating for Russian César Cui, who died in 1918. Judging by contemporary opinion he could have crept out of the public arena with little fuss. But stay he did, and we may be thankful that the occasional CD presents some of his well-turned music.

Cui's set of 25 Preludes for piano, written in 1903 and recorded here, embrace the listener with a range of moods endemic of the period, yet lacking a fiercely emotional intensity. Yes, one can play them as long as there's projection of Cui's skill in shaping moods. Jeffrey Biegel catches this without over-indulgence. César Cui's energy [listen -- track 8, 0:00-0:48] and lyricism [listen -- track 6, 0:00-0:48] are met with precise characterisation.

 

Copyright © 9 March 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews