Released to coincide with this year’s Sydney International Piano Competition, this disc of Russian music showcases a previous winner. In 2008, Konstantine Shamray won not only the First Prize but also the People’s Choice award. Listen to the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Sonata and you will understand the excitement caused by this young pianist.

The piano was not Tchaikovsky’s natural medium, and parts of his sonata of 1878 sound like the keyboard reduction of a symphony. Understanding this, Shamray revels in the quasi-orchestral gestures of the first movement (Chopin’s heroics a clear influence), and savours the dark lyricism of the slow movement. In the fleet scherzo and dazzling finale his light touch impresses. A crucial section of the scherzo involves the repetition of a simple melodic figure with a descending scale in the bass. This passage could easily sound trivial, but so spry is the pianist’s response that instead it sparkles.

He creates a mood of half-lights and shadows most effectively in four late pieces by Scriabin, especially the Feuillet d’album. Scriabin’s fragrant, introverted music is as impressionistic as anything by Debussy. By contrast, Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No 8...