Solo instrumentalists, and not least pianists, pop up on international music stages these days like tulips bursting out of the earth in early spring with their pointed leaves ahead. And just as the flower cups of the tulips then vie for the admiration of onlookers in the most wonderful colors, the young keyboard lions compete for the title of the most technically perfect performer. In fact, young pianists today are regularly quite a bit ahead of earlier generations of pianists when it comes to playing technique. However, very few of them are impressive performers. One of these rare species, or rather one that has become rare, is the 31-year-old Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov, who has amazed the world of pianist aficionados in recent years, especially as a soloist in piano concertos, because of his enormous creative ability, which, based on the very highest virtuosity, announces a truly exceptional artist. Since 2019 Behzod Abduraimov has been increasingly touring as a soloist in almost all the world's renowned concert halls. Among others, in the famous Carnegie Hall, to which he is particularly devoted because of the excellent acoustics for solo concerts, he presented the New York audience a crazy, because emotionally complex combination of romantic compositions, which have found their way into his new solo album.
The special thing about that Carnegie Hall concert as well as the studio album is that Behzod Abduraimov succeeded in creating his own atmosphere for the compositions piece by piece, thus making them shine in a peculiar light in each case, which makes the works sound as if newly created, believably close to the original idea of the respective composer. The critic of the New York paper The New Criterion could not contain his enthusiasm about what was offered and headlined: "Wow. Just wow. "And further in the text: "The first half of the recital - the Chopin Preludes - was pretty good. But the second half? Oh, my. Mount Olympus. ... As soon as he was through, I stood. I have never heard a better Pictures, and never heard one as good, except from Vladimir Feltsman, also in Carnegie Hall, many years ago." This enthusiasm is even comprehensible on the now available studio album, which was sonically produced in January 2020 at the Teldex Studio Berlin. Especially Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition leaves the listener with open-mouthed amazement after the magnificently staged final piece "The Great Gate of Kiev", in which Behzod Abduraimov deceptively genuinely produces the magnificent polyphonic ringing of bells parallel to the triumphantly shaped melody on the piano, after the preceding multiform character pieces have been made to sound exceedingly appropriate and convincing in terms of rhythm and timbre.
Rhythm and timbre also unite under the hands of the great shaper Behzod Abduraimov in the 24 Préludes by Chopin and in Childrens Corner by Debussy to a highly independent sound world in each case. This sound world is varied even within the individual pieces of the compositions according to the subject. In Childrens Corner, the mood in "The Snow Is Dancing" is recreated again and again within the given relatively limited dynamic range. "Jimbo's Lullaby" and "Serenade for the Doll" experience finely graded, charming characterizations, while Chopin's Préludes are presented with restrained rubato, rather classically simple, in a natural flow that benefits the famous "Raindrop Prélude" in particular, like a fresh cell cure.
No piano fan who is primarily concerned with convincing creative power can ignore this excellently recorded album.
Behzod Abduraimov, piano