Here's your classical disc of the week for Nov. 24, 2013. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.

Artist: Beatrice Rana, piano

Repertoire: Schumann, Ravel, Bartok

Label: Harmonia Mundi

When the Italian pianist Beatrice Rana played her first round at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition last May, she quickly became the darling of the international musical cognoscenti gathered for the 20-day trial in Fort Worth Texas. She was also the odds-on favourite for a slew of devoted fans — many of them Canadians — who tracked her appearances care of the competition's sophisticated online coverage. Although Rana came in second (first prize went to Ukrainian Vadym Kholodenko) she took the all-important Audience Award and left the critics gasping for superlatives.


Pianist Beatrice Rana performs Ondine from Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit.

Rana, just 20 years old, became known to Canadians 18 months earlier when she captured first prize at the 2011 Montreal International Music Competition and simply out-classed all of the other brilliant young competitors. That led to her debut recording on the Montreal-based ATMA label, along with appearances in several Canadian cities.

Now Rana's second CD — released on the Harmonia Mundi label as part of the Cliburn prize package — is now available and it features highlights from her recital rounds at the prestigious American competition. If you missed it online the first time around, here's a way to find out what all the fuss was about.

Rana plays with an elegance and assurance that's simply shocking for someone so young. No fuss and bother, no emotional extremes or unnecessary histrionics. What you get is intelligent, understated yet imaginative music-making underwritten by flawless technique.

This disc offers three works, all typically showy competition repertoire: Schumann's Symphonic Études, Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit and Bartok's Out of Doors. What shines through is her confidence and her musical smarts without any of the arrogance that often accompanies over-achieving young musicians.

It's impressive playing from a gifted artist.

posted by Denise Ball on Nov 23, 2013