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Alan Becker
American Record Guide, July 2012

Another young Russian pianist stakes his claim for pianistic attention and easily achieves it. Full praise is due for including the rarely performed Bolero in a charming performance. The great Piano Sonata moves with a sure hand and includes the important first movement repeat. The balance goes very well and would elicit enthusiastic applause from any audience. Khozyainov certainly has full control of his rubato and applies it for best effect.

The Liszt performances show him to be a natural Lisztian, almost born to the task. The rhetoric in the Dante Sonata makes its full effect without attempting to go over the top. As I listened further it dawned on me that here was a pianist who wanted to make the most of the contrasts in the music.

Needless to say, Khozyainov uses his ten fingers as if they were double that number, and this reviewer has become an advocate for his style and braggadocio. Sound and notes are both good. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Dave Saemann
Fanfare, July 2012

Now comes a Chopin and Liszt program by…Nikolay Khozyainov. He has everything: a big sound, splendid technique, and a musicality far beyond his years. This CD would do credit to any pianist…Every time I listened to this CD, my impression of Khozyainov’s artistry grew richer and fuller. In a time of glitzy young pianists typified by Lang Lang, the appearance of a talent like Khozyainov’s is all the more refreshing.

Khozyainov begins with a gentle and flexible account of the op. 9/3 nocturne. He has an acute sense of its improvisatory quality and its rhythm. Coming from a young pianist, it reveals a rich inner life. It is like the daydream of a youthful lover. The Bolero is rarely played, but Khozyainov makes it seem central to Chopin’s oeuvre. His rendition is delicately exotic, with great rhythmic panache. Khozyainov demonstrates how, like the waltzes, the Bolero is an idealized dance. The “Funeral March” Sonata begins with a big sound and an impetuous tempo. The B section of the first movement sounds like the reminiscence of a tumultuous love affair. I find the effect of the whole movement heartbreaking. Khozyainov produces the smoothest version of the finale I’ve ever heard; it almost sounds like Debussy. My favorite recordings of the sonata are by Cécile Ousset and Van Cliburn, but I will return to Khozyainov’s with pleasure.

Khozyainov’s Liszt proves just as satisfying as his Chopin. In the Dante Sonata , he begins with a huge sound and loads of excitement…Khozyainov…produces a wealth of colors. The vocal element of the work is well projected, with the piano singing all the time. In Khozyainov’s hands the Fantasia is much more than a showpiece, having plenty of heart. The CD’s sonics, from the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, are exemplary, big and warm. He clearly is a special artist. The fact that, at his age, his talent only can grow is intimidating. The possibilities for his artistry seem almost limitless. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

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