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Johannes Brahms was just 19 years old in 1852-53 when he wrote the first two piano sonatas he deemed worthy of publication. In these extended 4-movement compositions he built on the heritage of Beethoven.
The fact that Brahms had produced a pair of masterpieces was immediately recognised by his mentor Robert Schumann, who eased his young colleague’s way into the future with his celebrated article ‘New Paths’ of 1853.
Alexander Melnikov was born in Moscow in 1973 and began his music studies at the age of six, at Moscow’s Central Music School, then continued at the city’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory from which he graduated in 1997 (class of Lev Naumov). Regularly invited by Sviatoslav Richter, he participated in his festivals in Moscow (December Nights), and his chamber music festival at La Grange de Meslay (Tours, France). He completed his postgraduate studies with Elisso Virssaladze in Munich. From 2000 to 2002 he was a BBC New Generation Artist.
Alexander Melnikov appears regularly in recital at the world’s leading concert halls with major orchestras. Besides his well-established duo with Isabelle Faust his partners include Vadim Repin, Natalia Gutman, Yuri Bashmet, Alexander Roudine, Pieter Wispelwey, Jean-Guihen Queyras, and many others. In piano duo repertoire he appears regularly with Andreas Staier, Boris Berezovsky, and Alexei Lubimov. He also regularly performs on the fortepiano with Concerto Köln.
He has recorded several CDs on harmonia mundi, as a soloist (Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich) or as a chamber musician (Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Teunis van der Zwart). His recording of the Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues was a Gramophone Critics’ Choice 2010.
Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, op.2: I. Allegro non troppo, ma energico
Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, op.2: II. Andante con espressione
Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, op.2: III. Scherzo. Allegro - Trio
Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, op.2: IV. Finale. Introduzione - Allegro non troppo e rubato
Scherzo in E flat minor, op.4
Piano Sonata in C major, op.1: I. Allegro
Piano Sonata in C major, op.1: II. Andante (nach einem altdeutschen Minnelied)
Piano Sonata in C major, op.1: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto e con fuoco
Piano Sonata in C major, op.1: IV. Finale. Allegro con fuoco
“Melnikov shows himself a formidable Brahmsian, and the piano's 'nobility' is best displayed in the surging grandeur he brings to the finale of the C major...Altogether Melnikov makes out a powerful case for the young Brahms as a bold experimenter in sonata discourse. The 'period' piano may not be to everyone's taste...but I greatly enjoyed these performances and warmly recommend the disc.”
“the sound, fascinating as it is, takes some getting used to, even when it does nothing to qualify one's response to Melnikov's ardent and magisterial performances. These are of an all-Russian authority, with a thunder and intense virtuosity that often took me back to the playing of the young and titanic Gilels...[in the Scherzo] Melnikov is every inch the klavier-tiger, taking every awkward difficulty by storm yet creating an unforgettable romantic glow”
“A lovely disc from one of Russia’s most distinctive younger pianists.”
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