Vladimir Ashkenazy (80 this year) claims he has recorded too much, but aficionados regard him a reliable pianist more concerned with serving the music than showing off his considerable technique. He has chosen a selection of his favourite recordings of solo and chamber music in a new 56 CD set from Decca. Far from being simply reliable his playing is quite special: note the intoxicating beauty of Scriabin’s Second Piano Sonata, or the rapt inwardness of The Old Castlein Mussorgsky’s Pictures From An Exhibition. His much-praised series of Rachmaninov songs with Elisabeth Söderström is here (sadly without translations), the complete Preludes and Fugues of Bach and Shostakovich, the Beethoven Cello Sonatas with Lynn Harrell, dazzling early discs of Chopin and Prokofiev, and much more.    

Vladimir Ashkenazy. Photo © Decca

A Russian program on Eloquence brings robust performances of Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Riminiand...

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