Most pianists who’ve recorded all or some of the 53 piano miniatures encompassing Reynaldo Hahn’s Le rossignol éperdu understandably emphasize the music’s inherent charm. By contrast, Pavel Kolesnikov searches for and often achieves profundity. He does this by way of generally slower tempos that lend themselves to a wide palette of dynamic gradations, variety of touch, and rapturous long-lined legato. Kolesnikov’s soft introduction to the opening selection Frontispice presages the interpretation’s brooding and muted subtext, while the closing selection Ouranos conveys a transparent, almost disembodied sound-world unmatched by other recordings of this piece. On the other hand, Les noces du duc de Joyeuse takes deliciously playful and supple wing, as do the rapid figurations in La fête de Terpsichore.
Indeed, each of Kolesnikov’s 19 selections from this cycle are models of interpretive refinement and sensitivity. Similarly, Kolesnikov elevates six admittedly salon-ish pieces from Hahn’s Prèmieres valses to high art; listen to Ninette’s staggeringly controlled downward scales, Valse noble’s soaring grandeur, or notice the perfect alignment and articulation of No. 6’s speedy figurations and you’ll agree. In short, there’s no better Reynaldo Hahn piano collection on the market. Atypical of Hyperion, the booklet notes offer fanciful commentary from the pianist rather than useful composer/repertoire information.