Norman Lebrecht Album of the Week

08.31.15
Daniil Trifonov
Sinfini Music

No pianist under forty exerts the level of fascination that Daniil Trifonov achieves, concludes Norman Lebrecht after grappling with an extraordinary disc that is by turns intriguing and inscrutable. 

The enigma that is Daniil Trifonov is concealed behind ten doors and an impervious exterior. The most impressive pianist of his generation, still only 24, he gives little away on stage and less still in media interviews, where he knows that a flimsy anecdote will suffice to deflect attention. A documentary DVD by Christopher Nupen, out this week, flatters to deceive. A new DG album, presenting Trifonov both with orchestra and on his own, illuminates the difficulties in cracking the enigma.

The solo variations, by contrast, are pure self-assertion. Trifonov’s sets Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Chopin midway between the two composers, testing the idea as if it were a physics theorem. The Corelli Variations are limpid, transluscent, all-revealing, the lightest in years. Between the two sets, Trifonov plays his own Rachmaniana, an altogether enchanting synthesis of the master’s great themes, analytical and maniacal by turn. No pianist under forty exerts this level of fascination.   

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