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James Harrington
American Record Guide, July 2012

…a superbly recorded, well-balanced recital like this is always a welcome addition to my library. Sonata 10…and the poem Towards the Flame are a big leap in harmonic and melodic style. The sensuous markings in Sonata 10 point to an erotic work, filtered through Scriabin’s mystical philosophy late in life. All of the trills and tremolos are fully under Mustonen’s control…I appreciate Mustonen’s wide dynamic range and sensitive touch and have no problems recommending this as a good overview of Scriabin’s music. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Scott Noriega
Fanfare, July 2012

Mustonen certainly brings out the quirkiness in much of this music, but if there is one composer who can take it, it is Scriabin. The recital begins with the early set of Etudes, op. 8. The pianist brings the requisite amount of energy to pull off the faster, more virtuosic ones…though he is equally at home in the more lyrical and mesmerizing…slower ones. The two sets of preludes that follow consist of rather short…mood pieces. Mustonen handles them with just as much care as the more demanding etudes; his simple way with them allows their character to shine through. The demanding 10th Piano Sonata follows. Once again, Mustonen seems to feel this piece contrapuntally—the chords that emerge are as though through an x-ray. The sounds never wash together; we are never bathed in their color. Rather, the notes twinkle like individual stars in the night…it is highly captivating.

Though Mustonen may at first make one question whether he is the right man for this job, the recording itself proves his case: The recital, like the composer’s career, which it mirrors, is a joy from beginning to end. Sound quality is excellent, as is my experience with Ondine. I look forward to whatever repertoire Mustonen takes on next—his insights into the music are…intellectually revealing and emotionally satisfying. Highly recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review




Bryce Morrison
Gramophone, June 2012

An extraordinary pianist for extraordinary music. This is Scriabin as you have never heard him before, played by one of music’s most formidable and compulsive free spirits.

…even in the Etudes, Mustonen’s acetylene technique dazzles and astounds, fragmenting a Chopin-inspired lyricism into so many shards of glass. The music is made to leap flame-like and uncontained from the page and you could cut yourself on Mustonen’s glittering sonority. Try the third Etude in B minor (Tempestoso), where Mustonen sets the cross-rhythms in jagged opposition, and you will hear a pianist of a truly astonishing force and individuality.

…in the volatility and dark musings of Russian Romanticism (Rachmaninov’s First Sonata, Balakirev’s Islamey), his originality defies comparison…Mustonen’s beady and dazzling pianism is truly hypnotic. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone






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