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See latest reviews of other albums..., September 2010

There are two pianists featured on a CD called “Tokarev Plays Rosenblatt,” from the specialized Solo Musica label; and one of the performers is also the composer of the music here—that being part of this label’s approach. Rosenblatt (born 1956) graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, and his music is fairly well known in Russia—but as this CD shows, it has been strongly influenced by that most American of musical forms, jazz. Even the two most overtly “Russian” works here—the Concertino on Two Russian Themes for 4 Hands and Waltzing with Hartmann (after Mussorgsky)—partake of jazz influences, and the remaining works are filled with similar inflections. Both Nikolai Tokarev and Rosenblatt himself bring a strong sense of “swing” to these works, which also show—in the piano sonata and Paganini’s Variations—Rosenblatt’s fine grasp of classical forms. Solo Musica’s niche is strong collaboration with composers and performers to present both traditional and unconventional classical music. The Rosenblatt CD, which can be looked at as focusing on post-Rachmaninoff Russian piano works, shows that there is some very interesting material out there for this label to explore.

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