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Uladzislau Khandohi

Uladzislau Khandohi in Recital (2CD)

Taking Second Prize at the 2023 Sydney International Piano Competition, the Belarussian pianist Uladzislau (Vladislav) Khandohi stunned jury and audience members alike with phenomenally precise and committed accounts of repertoire from Schubert to Mark Grandison. His solo-repertoire performances from the competition are presented here in a debut album which will cause pianophiles everywhere to prick up their ears.

Born in 2002 to a family of dulcimer players in Minsk, Khandohi demonstrated prodigious musical accomplishment from an early age. Having started lessons at seven years old, inspired by his brother’s piano practice, he was winning major competitions five years later. He joined the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 2020 and impressed as a finalist at the 2022 Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

"I want to play for the audience," Khandohi says. "I love music because of its emotions – that’s how I choose the music that I play. I think it belongs not to the earth but the air." This open-hearted musicianship marks out his live Sydney performances of the three major works on this album: the Corelli Variations by Rachmaninoff, the Eighth Sonata of Prokofiev, and Broken Threads by the contemporary Australian composer Mark Grandison.

Broken Threads is an imposing work on the page, subjecting an angular 12-note theme to a sequence of passacaglias and toccatas, but Khandohi engages the listener with breathtaking clarity of thought and fingerwork. No less captivating in its way is his Chopin playing: the surges of passion and rubato in the F sharp minor Polonaise, and the contrasting simplicity of phrasing in the Mazurka Op.17 No.4.

More knife-edge articulation and high-wire flashes of inspiration mark out Khandohi’s accounts of ‘Scarbo’ from Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and the Four Etudes Op.2 written the year earlier (1908) by the teenage Prokofiev. The Russian composer finds Khandohi in his element, and he brings a remarkable grip to the Eighth Sonata’s enigmatic progression from songful tragedy to violent combustion.

CD 1
F. SCHUBERT
1. Impromptu in C minor, D. 899 No. 1 (Op.90)

F. CHOPIN
2. Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op. 48 No. 2
3. Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44
4. Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17 No. 4

M. GRANDISON
5-10. Broken Threads
(Abridged Version III)

S. PROKOFIEV
11-14. Four Etudes, Op. 2

CD 2

S. RACHMANINOFF
1-23. Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42

M. RAVEL
24. Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55
III Scarbo

S. PROKOFIEV
25-27. Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84