These three new discs from Divine Art are dedicated to the Russian piano school and make for hugely interesting listening. The three composers are Vladimir Rebikov, Sergey Lyapunov and Reinhold Gliere, the latter two perhaps more familiar than the first one but a satisfying discovery nonetheless.
Rebikov was an excellent teacher and performer with his output including various chamber and orchestral works as well as several stage works. However his greatest legacy remains his varied and assorted collection of piano pieces which finds a good selection here. Apparently his later work includes some rather dissonant pieces which caused him to fall out of favour but the pieces recorded here remind one of such luminaries of his time such as Vaughan Williams, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and Mompou.
Gliere who was of Belgian descent was also a dab hand on the piano as the 25 Preludes demonstrate with fantastic amounts of colour and quite amazing virtuosic demands. The same goes for the Mazurkas and also the Esquisses which have that tinge of oriental colour which we find in his orchestral works with the ballet "Red Poppy" and the massive 3rd Symphony, "Ilya Muromets" coming to mind.
Finally there's the disc dedicated to Sergey Lyapunov who is also a master of the miniature but who composed a Piano Sonata which is unjustifiably rather neglected nowadays. I greatly enjoyed his Variations on a Georgian Theme as well as the moving "Fêtes de Noël", a lovingly created miniature for the Christmas period.
After listening to these performances for the best part of four hours, I have to say that I was bowled over by Anthony Goldstone's consummate artistry and sheer virtuosity in these multi faceted pieces. Like the Shostakovich volume, these three discs are a must acquisition for those who know and love things Russian. Fastidiously detailed notes and fine recordings complement what must be one of the highlights of piano recordings this year.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech.