Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone, Mikhail Arkadiev, pianist Cultural Centre Concert Hall, March 4 The word incandescent cannot begin to illuminate the radiance of the Hvorostovsky-Arkadiev instrument. I use the singular word because the Russian baritone and pianist played as one with no musical sacrifice for the other. Arkadiev's accompaniment could have the colour of a Renaissance consort. When he played the unyielding Rachmaninoff piano parts, he could drive it home with thunder and lightning. But where the singer was all-important, in arias by Gluck and Handel, so sensitive was he that the singer himself seemed to be transformed. And what a singer Hvorostovsky is. His programme was extraordinarily challenging to both audience and himself. None of those nerdy little Neapolitan numbers which Jose Carerras sings. The Spaniard may have a gorgeous voice, but Hvorostovsky gives, as one listener noted, '150 per cent of himself'. The Gluck aria from the rare Paride ed Elena was so intense that this listener cried, without noticing the translation from the Italian. His encores, from Verdi and Rossini, had such dramatic power, such physical presence, movement, that Hvorostovsky could actually transport the audience to the opera hall. There were minor questions. His second Don Giovanni aria was sung so quickly that one knew he was using it for pre-intermission applause. The familiar Gluck lament from Orpheo had some deep-breathing excesses. But Hvorostovsky has a huge range, his control is great, and the colour was wide enough to embrace four centuries with no difficulties at all. Perhaps one could have carped at 10 songs by Rachmaninoff, for their quality varied greatly. When most Russian, they were haunting. But when of the Grieg-salon school, the composer was hardly inspired. Altogether, though, the recital was . . . oh hell, it was incandescent.