ARCADI VOLODOS - Debut Recording -- Piano transcriptions of music of Bach, Bizet, Liszt, Mozart, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky
Sony Classical 62691 (M) (DDD) TT: 61:20

Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos, now in his mid-twenties, didn't begin serious study of the piano until he was 16, but hearing these masterful performances one would never suspect that he has been playing but a decade. This debut Sony CD offers transcriptions, many of them Horowitz originals apparently reconstructed by Volodos: Variations on Bizet's Carmen and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. He also dispatches Georges Cziffra's fantastic transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee (but doesn't play the repeats), Feinberg's transcription of the scherzo from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 and a Bach Largo, three songs of Schubert arranged by Liszt, three excerpts from Prokofiev's Cinderella, and his own transcriptions of two songs of Rachmaninoff and Mozart's Turkish March. I attended a concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Volodos playing Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto. It was a stunning performance of incredible impact after which, as an encore, he gave a spectacular performance of the Horowitz-Liszt transcription of Mendelssohn's Wedding March. This would be a good work to include on Volodos' next CD. What's next, Sony? Aside from a touch of brittleness in the upper register, the sound is fine. An auspicious recording debut, indeed.

R.E.B. (Sept. 1999)