Vallina begins his recital with a magisterial and poignant rendition of Rachmaninov's infrequently performed Variations on a theme of Chopin. From the outset he forces you to listen to his case for this being an under-rated work. As he moves through the variations his range of tone and colour are truely beautiful. Vallina synthesises the numerous cross-rhythms, massive chords and close-knit chromaticism into a beautiful and sophisticated performance of impeccable taste. This is Rachmaninov played as it should be. Virtuosity is at the service of the music and never for showmanship. His tone is melting and fortissimo's are never brash or clangerous. I've never heard this set of variations played better, and this is hopefully the first of many future recordings by this 'new' pianist. He follows on with Schumann's Carnaval. While this piece has been recorded more often, you are aware that this young man has something new to say about this youthful and joyous piece. His sound is individual. He never rushes and the whole piece, really a clever set of variations, makes sense in his hands. He moves between the metamorphoses of the A, E flat, C and B natural to produce sometimes funny, sometimes grotesque, sometimes longing but always vivid images of Schumann's characters and friends. Vallina ends his recital with the Schulz-Elver Arabesques on themes from Johann Strauss' Beautiful Blue Danube. This is a real souffle of a piece, and requires mercurial playing to be pulled off. This is what we get. The sound world he develops is delicate and crystalline and his show-stopping performance is exhilarating and something to marvel at. What a gem. Martha Argerich and EMI are to be thanked for this presentation and if the other 3 recordings in this 'Martha Argerich presents...' are anything like as good, then we are in for a real treat.