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Daniil Trifonov - Rachmaninoff Variations / Sinfini Music Album Of the Week

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The enigma that is Daniil Trifonov is concealed behind ten doors and an impervious exterior. The most impressive pianist of his generation, still only 24, he gives little away on stage and less still in media interviews, where he knows that a flimsy anecdote will suffice to deflect attention. A documentary DVD by Christopher Nupen, out this week, flatters to deceive. A new DG album, presenting Trifonov both with orchestra and on his own, illuminates the difficulties in cracking the enigma.

Most pianists are brought out of their shell by engagement with a massed band. Not Trifonov. From his first entry in Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini he seems to shrink from the enticements of the Philadelphia Orchestra and its music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The more winningly they play, the more Trifonov retreats into a monkish bunker of Rachmaninov-like exile, refusing the bait of relationship. Only in the solo passages of the 16th and 19th variations does he sound wholly in zone.  READ THE FULL Sinfini REVIEW