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Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, January 2011

The orchestra is the one in Ankara, Turkey, where the pianist was born. Serebrier conducts the Concert Fantasy, Tabakov the concerto. Tabakov is Bulgarian and was better known years ago than he is now.

The main thing is the concerto—a major work by a major composer. It’s an extremely difficult work to bring off, extremely difficult for a pianist to play. Idil Biret (in 2004, when she was 63) handles it expertly; the difficulties are made to seem easy. But this is a hard and blatant performance, as if the pianist and orchestra were just able to bring it off but unable to add any subtleties or nuances. They play the full original version, with the 15-minute trio as II—and that is a joy. But this cannot become a top recommendation for the concerto. There are by now so many fine performances that one needn’t settle for a very competent run-through.

As for the Concert Fantasy, it still strikes me as an utterly uninspired piece—a rarity from this composer. But the pianist and conductor try to make something of it. It’s a better performance than the concerto. It was recorded in 2010.

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