Despite our emergence from the global pandemic – some of us sooner than others – lockdown projects keep popping up on disc. This one, from Russian-born, British pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, is especially rewarding, featuring enjoyable arrangements of Tchaikovsky ‘s orchestral music alongside miniature gems that are often underrepresented in recital.

Tchaikovsky on the Piano

Sudbin opens with a bravura take on one of Tchaikovsky’s avowed favourites: the showstopping overture from Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila. In his sleeve notes, the pianist recalls the countless times he’s been forced to wait in the wings listening to the swirling strings and thundering timpani that drive this most ubiquitous of orchestral works. His arrangement, he laughs, is by way of revenge, but the joke’s on him as it is the pianist who has to grapple here with fiendish fingerings, virtuoso flourishes and hand-numbing glissandos. That aside, it’s a rip-roaring way to open a disc and Sudbin – hands flying across the keyboard – gets the spirit of the thing just right in a no-holds-barred performance.

Excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s solo piano output follow, framed by a pair of arrangements...