This recording is from EMI Debut series, which gives young performers a chance to issue a CD with a major label at reduced price with an eye to jump-starting their career. As a result, I don't think it's worthy of the rather harsh review posted above. Ms. Rubinova certainly demonstrates the technical chops needed to perform the music, along with a reasonably sensitvie touch at the piano.
Interpretation-wise, she seems cautious to me. This is a problem with several other performers in this series, which suggests to me that they don't want to blow their big break. The better performances in this series seem to me by those who choose out-of-the-way repertoire. Those like Ms. Rubinova are probably more daring to plunge into the standard repertoire, but they have a much higher mountain to climb to draw attention to themselves.
I also wonder if today's younger players are too removed from the Romantic ethos to appreciate that emotional volatility in art was a NEW experience for people at the time. Many young players seem to shy away from the emotional implications of composers like Chopin and Schumann (as if they're embarrassed by them) in favor of beautiful, but far too straight-forward, playing.
The weakest performance is clearly the Chopin, which is shapeless and directionless which simply won't do for a fantasy. A performer must bring an attitude to such a piece, and Rubinova doesn't seem to know what she wants to say. The Brahms pieces are better, though not top-notch either. She has some interesting ideas about phrasing, and there's some interesting detachee playing in places, but again, an encompassing vision of any piece seems to be missing. Generally speaking, the louder, more aggressive pieces fair best.
I'm no great fan of the Schumann which to me suffers from a lot of rhythmic repetition and not enough harmonic variety. But, this is the best thing on the album. Rubinova still draws too far back from the emotional element of the music, but she keeps things moving along and finds some attractive areas of repose. And, her playing in the more scherzo-like portions is puckish and manages to hide the rhythmic tedium.
Though in no way the best album in EMI's Debut series, Ms. Rubinova's effort reveals a pianist who might mature into a worthy, if not world-class, talent. If I were to recommend a single thing to her, it would be to let her hair down more and cut loose emotionally a bit more. Alternatively, she ought to choose more emotionally reticent music.