'Too many notes', you might have thought if you’ve encountered a less than magisterial performance of Rachmaninov's First Piano Sonata. So did I before hearing this crystal-clear interpretation by Rustem Hayroudinoff... As a master of textural details he knows what to highlight and where to give space.  The long first-movement development’s climaxes are properly terraced; there’s pure poetry in the Lento’s feminine portrait; and the demonic dash of the finale never blusters... an impressive grip on structure... There's no better way to get to know these two masterpieces."

- BBC Music Magazine, November 2017

 

"There’s a great deal of high-voltage playing on Rustem Hayroudinoff’s disc. But he always uses his prodigious technique intelligently; there’s no sense he’s ever highlighting the heftiness of the piano writing in a self-regarding way."

- The Guardian, June 2017

 

“This is an artist not merely interpreting the music, but identifying with it. Small wonder it [the CD] has generally been seen as a benchmark recording of these studies and was selected as the finest version when BBC Radio 3 last assessed the work on its ‘Building a Library’ feature. I still commend these two Hayroudinoff discs for completeness, convenience and class. Ideally one could also add Richter’s Regis selection of studies and preludes from all four opus numbers. Then you have a titan of the great Russian piano tradition and one of his most impressive heirs.”

 

- Music Web International, May 2015

 

 

“...unbridled - even unhinged - forward momentum conveyed by Rustem Hayroudinoff in his superlative recording for Chandos. ...great range of colours...Hayroudinoff's almost impressionistic handling of timbre and subtle use of rubato seems even more apposite to the doom-laden and emotionally fraught atmosphere of the music.”                                                                                                             

 

- BBC Music, November 2014

 

 

“Chopin’s romantic 2nd Piano Concerto was passionate, ablaze with Hayroudinoff’s virtuosity. The capacity audience thundered applause and won an encore, a dazzling four-minute study for the left hand. It brought the house down.”

 

- TheLatest.co.uk, October 2013

 

 

“Rustem Hayroudinoff has given the best concert of the l7th Sala Beethoven International Piano Festival. It was a very high quality presentation and one of the most memorable performances of the year at the San Pedro auditorium. The emotions ran so high that during the autograph session a woman kissed his hands out of gratitude.”                                                                                                

- El Norte (Mexico), December 2011

 

 

“The 13 Preludes of Rachmaninoff’s opus 32 made up the second half of Hayroudinoff’s program, and it’s hard to think of anyone who plays them better… Hayroudinoff brings to them electrifying power and passion, but always expressed with a beautiful tone, even in fortissimo. And he is positively a genius at digging out the inner voices that most pianists don’t realize are even there. The first part of the program was made up of three Preludes and Fugues from Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues (opus 87) in a rendition so authoritative that one wishes Hayroudinoff would record the entire set…The only question that remained after the recital was, Why isn’t Hayroudinoff better known and playing a larger venue, such as the big stage at Carnegie Hall?”                                                                                                    

 

- Vanity Fair, January 2010

 

 

“The performances showed him to be an insightful and dashing interpreter, able to tap into Rachmaninoff’s richly emotional world while also bringing utmost clarity to the complex piano writing…contrapuntal lines and inner voices emerged in requisite and vivid context. Rachmaninoff’s darkness received ample urgency, with torrential passages evoking sonic storms minus a hint of harshness. Hayroudinoff’s fleet fingers and crisp articulation ensured that the technical aspects were but means to musical ends. Three preludes and fugues by Shostakovich sounded like the creative explosions they are when a forceful guide is in the driver’s seat. The acerbic passages fairly leaped from the instrument, the brooding statements gripped the heart and the fugue that ends the collection burst with manic passion. And then there was Chopin, whose Ballade No. 4 received a performance full of temperament and gorgeous tonal resources. Impetuosity and elasticity, so crucial in this composer’s music, appear to be hallmarks of the pianist’s artistry…everything Hayroudinoff touched bore the stamp of a master.”                                          

 

- Plain Dealer, Cleveland, USA, January 2010

 

 

“Rachmaninoff asks everything of his pianist: a steely rhythmic sense, coruscating virtuosity, spiritual depth and introspection. Tartar-born Rustem Hayroudinoff marshals all these qualities. His classically contained but never underpowered approach is likely to have delighted the composer-pianist and it comes closest to Sviatoslav Richter…”                                                      

 

- BBC Radio 3 Building a Library Choice, July 2008

 

 

“These forthright, beautifully weighted performances keep the emotion in check but never at bay. With Hayroudinoff's playing equal even to the greatness of Richter, Op. 39 No. 7 emerges as one of Rachmaninov's greatest creations in a drama of life and death.”

 

- BBC Music Magazine Best Instrumental CD of the Year Nomination 2008

 

 

“The piano soloist was a sensationally gifted pianist from Russia, Rustem Hayroudinoff, in Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto. What a performance this was, demonstrating the emotional range of this wonderful work, full of mercurial brilliance, impassioned melody and breathtaking virtuosity.”

 

- The Independent, January 2007

 

 

“Rustem Hayroudinoff plays these extraordinary miniatures with sensational aplomb, transforming some of the most note-spattered pages in the piano repertoire into sublime poetics. My piano record of the year so far.”                                                                                       

 

- Classic FM Magazine (London), February 2007

 

 

“Hayroudinoff takes the composer at his word, a courtesy to Rachmaninov not granted by every pianist. Temperamentally he is right inside the music. This is powerful Rachmaninov playing that transcends the artificial constraints of the recording studio.”                                                      

 

- Gramophone, February 2007

 

 

“…there’s little doubt that Hayroudinoff’s warmly recorded interpretations are not only brilliantly characterised and absolutely masterly in terms of technique, but also sufficiently varied in colour and timbre to enable him to extract the maximum degree of impact throughout each piece - an extra dimension that makes his performances sound even more vibrant and imaginative…whilst conveying more vividly the increasing desperation that engulfs the music. Benchmark recording.”

 

- Instrumental Choice of the Month - BBC Music Magazine, January 2007

 

 

“Among many Dvorak issues I’d like for my collection…the problematic Piano Concerto with the inspired young Russian, Rustem Hayroudinoff, bringing out a rare joy.”

 

- Best CDs of 2005 - Gramophone, December 2005

 

 

“Rustem Hayroudinoff sounds as though he believes in every note of the Piano Concerto, making even the most commonplace of phrases sound utterly magical. Dvorák was by no means an expert pianist, as is reflected in page after page of awkward, unidiomatic writing, yet Hayroudinoff somehow clarifies and illuminates even the most densely-textured terrain, making it glisten and radiate emotional warmth. Even Richter’s celebrated EMI recording must cede to this outstanding newcomer.”

 

- Classic FM Magazine (London), August 2005

 

 

“Hayroudinoff is excellent: he has an invigorating manner, and a clear enjoyment of the work and belief in it which are very convincing.”                                                  

 

- International Record Review, July/August 2005

 

 

“The Piano Concerto has never had the same popularity as some other Dvorák works, but Rustem Hayroudinoff is a persuasive exponent of its grandeur, its rhythmic thrust and the passages of delicacy and decoration that establish an exciting dialogue with the orchestra.”                        

 

- Daily Telegraph, July 2005

 

 

“It says much for the Russian pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff that he gives such a commanding performance of the Dvorak Piano Concerto…just as dazzling and just as electrically compelling. Hayroudinoff even more than Richter brings out the joyful, carefree quality of Dvorak’s inspiration, demonstrating what a wonderful fund of good melodies it contains. The clarity of his articulation in the trickiest passagework is phenomenal, and his phrasing in the central Andante Sostenuto is limpidly beautiful, even warmer than that of Richter.…an outstanding modern version.”                                                                  

 

- Gramophone, July 2005

 

 

“Revelatory version of a spectacular 20th - century orchestral masterwork. Hayroudinoff and Stone impress with their knowledge of the score, giving a well-prepared, gutsy performance…”    

 

- Gramophone, July 2005

 

 

“That this is a major Shostakovich release goes without saying, but, more than that, it will hopefully lead to frequent hearings, during the composer’s centenary year and beyond, of what is here revealed as an absorbing and perceptive transcription.”                                             

 

- International Record Review, May 2005

 

 

“Rustem Hayroudinoff proves himself to be a player in the great Russian virtuoso tradition.”

Gramophone, May 2004

 

 

“As far as Rachmaninoff's 'complete' cello music goes, this is the best I have heard.”

 

- American Record Guide, NY 2004

 

 

“This complete set [Rachmaninoff’s 24 Preludes] is a gem.”   

 

- Classic FM Magazine (London), March 2004

 

 

“Despite such a diverse range of alternative versions this latest account… is far from negligible in that it presents the music with a concentrated yet expressive directness that commands our attention without the need to resort to histrionic effect… Hayroudinoff’s is… a most impressive achievement and one that raises hopes of more Rachmaninov, maybe the Etudes-tableaux, from this artist.”

 

- International Record Review, March 2004

 

 

“This is one of the most rewarding and exciting new piano releases I have heard.  Hayroudinoff's performances are so entrancing that listeners may be loath to set it aside, much like a book that 'one cannot put down'. Rachmaninoff's ubiquitous C-sharp minor Prelude … proves to be the most beautiful account of this hackneyed piece imaginable. The pianist moves from one revelation to another, his conceptions of the Preludes remarkably rounded and rife with touches and gestures of the old-style pianism.  His understanding of the composer's tonal language is precocious, and his playing is full of evocative shading, pedalling, and nuance.  The collector can choose from several outstanding recordings of Rachmaninoff's Preludes.  At the top is Richter, with this recording by Hayroudinoff a close second, though in several of the Preludes … I think he surpasses Richter.”                                        

 

- American Record Guide (New York), Jan/Feb 2004

 

 

“How rare to hear Rachmaninov playing of Rustem Hayroudinoff’s enviable ease and inclusiveness. Musicianly to the core, without a trace of exaggeration, whipped-up rhetoric or histrionics, he makes you fall in love all over again with both the Op 23 Preludes and the still richer Op 32 set. Even Op 3 (the Rachmaninov Prelude) takes on a special distinction in such a devoted recreation of all of its drama. …In Liszt’s immortal description of a true virtuoso, everything is allowed to ‘weep and sing and sigh’. Competition may be strong from the urbane Howard Shelley, from Ashkenazy and most of all from Moura Limpany…, but Hayroudinoff, a young Russian resident in London, speaks with a voice all his own.”

 

- Gramophone, January 2004

 

 

“One of the qualities most needed in Rachmaninov’s music is the graceful lack of apparent effort, and that is precisely why Rustem Hayroudinoff is so engaging. It is not at all the same thing as nonchalance, or being cool, and if you compare his recording of the very first Prelude, in C sharp minor, with Lympany’s most recent version, you are at once aware that the level of expressive intensity is greatly heightened. Hayroudinoff brings a sense of urgency – dark fatalism, even – to the music’s message…Hayroudinoff’s razor-sharp rhythmic attack is hardly blunted,…while his fluency, heedless of hurdles, and his sensitive balancing of strands within Rachmaninov’s sonorous textures beg, without undue unction, to be relished.”

 

- BBC Music Magazine, December 2003

 

 

“Not many recordings of Rachmaninov’s complete Preludes come on a single disc, although it doesn’t mean that the sensationally gifted Rustem Hayroudinoff rushes his fences. The heavenly E flat Prelude…is magically phrased, as is the skin-tingling D major… the famous G minor thrills and seduces, and the A minor darts about kaleidoscopically to hypnotic effect. Hayroudinoff plays with an electrifying and compelling inevitability that connects the listener with the composer himself. The larger than life recording suites the exuberance of Hayroudinoff’s stunning artistry to a tee.”   

 

- Classic FM Magazine, November 2003

 

 

“Beautifully lyrical playing from Russian pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff… He really imbues these works with passion and intensity. It sounds as if every note is special to him. Rustem Hayroudinoff’s playing combines power with control and lacks any of the over-sentimentality or self-indulgence that is often associated with Rachmaninoff’s works. …the B flat major Prelude is grand and majestic in his hands. Compelling playing…This full-priced recording for Chandos should certainly win him new friends.”

 

- BBC Radio 3 CD Reviews, September 2003

 

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