Vladimir Ashkenazy / Walking In The Air / H. Blake 4786300

On this unique and maybe unexpected album, there are no fewer than nine world premiere recordings including . . . a prelude written especially for Ashkenazy, made out of his initials . . . "Walking in the Air" is a stand-out track on this generous 80-minute collection. Blake's compositions are attractive and accessible and Ashkenazy's joy at playing his friend's music is evident on this album.

. . . ["Walking in the air"]: Ashkenazy's phrasing raises it to the level of a minor masterpiece . . . ["Music box" / "Laura"]: given with much refinement by Ashkenazy, as does the succeeding item, "Prelude for Vova" . . . ["Impromptu"]: a truly fine example of Blake's idiomatic writing, as well as being superbly expressive . . . ["Eight character pieces"]: a perfectly satisfying and coherent composition . . . [Sonata for two pianos]: considerable virtuosity from both players . . . ["Fantasy"] declares his natural compositional gifts in no uncertain manner . . . ["Four easy pieces"]: delightful miniatures. Vladimir Ashkenazy reveals all there is to be found in these early pieces, and this excellently recorded recital continues with "Romanza" . . . another extremely beautiful piece . . . a recital of eminently worthwhile music . . .