"...There are over twenty-five recordings of these Preludes, but few by established artists with big careers (Ashkenazy, Nicolaevska, and Mustonen are the exceptions). Most pianists seem to play the work in around thirty minutes. Lifits takes about eight minutes longer. We know that Shostakovich was often indifferent to his own metronome markings, which he sometimes took from the first performer to play a piece. Lifits’ more deliberate tempo choices and deft rubato make other versions seem underplayed. In Lifits’ hands the Preludes seem worldlier, more knowing. Lifits presents us with more than an appealing musical sketchbook, revealing a world of the composer’s moods (from sardonic to resigned), managing to link this early composition to the laconic, spare and enigmatic music of late Shostakovich, where the composer seems alone, yet intensely observant..." "...We hear echoes of Shostakovich’s musical upbringing, with lots of Chopinesque moments, but also popular tunes including a highly ornamented tango. Lifits carries the listener into these concentrated little pieces. His gentle trilling in No. 10 (Moderato non troppo, in C sharp minor) is beguiling, as is his finger work in No. 5 (Allegro vivace, in D major), a flight-of-the-bumblebee sort of display. Other highlights include the show of power in the middle of No. 14 (Adagio, in E flat minor), and his handling of the child-like, slightly stumbling tune of No. 21 (21 Allegretto poco moderato, in B flat major)..."