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Hommage à Chopin
Impromptu on the themes of two Preludes by Chopin
Hommage à Chopin, Op. 111, No. 1
Three Mazurkas, Op. 32 No. 1
10 Variations on a Prelude of Chopin
No. 2: Hommage à Chopin from Lanterne magique, Op. 66
Walzermasken No. 7 'Profil (Chopin)'
No 5: Studie 'Hommage à Chopin' from Moods, Op. 73
Souvenir de Chopin
No. 9: Hommage à Chopin from Contes de jeunesse, Op. 46
Variations sur un theme de Chopin
Notturno 'La réminiscence de Chopin;, Op. 48 No. 1
Un poco di Chopin, Op. 72, No. 15
Hommage a Chopin
2010 sees the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, and among the many celebratory recordings, this disc will stand out as an historic record of the composer’s extraordinary influence and legacy.
Chopin’s unique style of piano writing was to utterly transform the way in which composers wrote for and thought about the instrument. Few escaped some aspect of that legacy until the early years of the twentieth century; and few pianists have not had Chopin’s music in their concert repertoire. Small wonder that so many composers and pianistcomposers— major and minor—have felt moved to pay their respects to a musician for whom there is almost universal approbation. A fascinating selection of hommages are represented here.
Jonathan Plowright has recently been described as ‘one of the finest living pianists; the possessor of qualities that should no longer remain a secret’ (Gramophone). His formidable technique and musical integrity combine in a disc which is a must for any pianophile.
“This is an imaginative way of marking Chopin’s bicentenary without adding to the already amply stocked CD catalogue of his own works. Jonathan Plowright provides a fascinating conspectus of how Chopin’s example has sparked ideas in others...This disc is a delight.” The Telegraph, 18th February 2010 *****
“Plowright’s dazzling playing can’t be faulted.” Sunday Times, 21st February 2010 ***
“Most of these pieces are light, even frothy morceaux, and Plowright does not overstate the musical case for them beyond their obvious delights of refinement and dexterity. But he balances them with two superb sets of variations on Chopin themes: Busoni's late Ten Variations on the C minor Prelude and Frederico Mompou's substantial work on another Prelude, Op. 28 No. 7. Mompou's 11th variation is the sublimest track on the disc. ...in places like these that Plowright shows his real qualities as a virtuoso, especially his clarity of texture and instinct for phrasing.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2010 *****
“on this magnificent and richly enterprising disc you can hear Chopin's idiom refracted, as it were, through the prism of several richly diverse personalities...All of these multifaceted offerings...show Jonathan Plowright as beguiling in his intimacy as he is magisterial in virtuosity.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2010
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A Treasury of Extemporaneous Piano Compositions, 1821-2008
This CD presents a selection of the less performed impromptus that span a period of nearly two centuries. Four of the works have been recorded for the first time and are by Godowsky, Bibalo, Volaj and Mazhara. The works by Volaj and Mazhara were commissioned by Margarita Glebov for this project.
“an impressive and sympathetically recorded calling-card from a Russian-American pianist who dares to be different - and three cheers for that. Her expressive range and complete empathy with each composer represented here make one hope for more from her.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2010
“Throughout her highly diverse programme, she is in complete command of every element. Her attention to clarity and tonal values is particularly noteworthy, and she summons appropriate bravura for the demanding Balakirev and Moszowski selections...An auspicious debut” International Record Review
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Balakirev - Piano Music Volume 2
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Balakirev: Complete Piano Works
Fantasies and Nocturnes
Mazurkas and Scherzos
Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) was the founder of the group of Russian composers called ‘The Mighty Handful’. Together with Borodin, Rimsky Korsakov, Cui and Mussorgsky he helped create a distinctive Russian school of music that was not reliant on the influence of the Austro German school.
Studying at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, he won the praise of Glinka, and had an influence on the young Tchaikovsky. He wrote two symphonies, two piano concertos, several symphonic poems and many piano works. On these 6CDs his entire output for piano can be found.
A superb pianist, he produced one of the most taxing works ever written for the instrument, his Oriental Fantasy Islamey. His piano sonata is no less impressive, and the Seven Mazurkas are wonderfully melodic works. There is much to discover on these discs. Sadly, Balakirev suffered a complete nervous breakdown in 1871, and he withdrew from life, eventually emerging to take up a minor management role on the railways.
In 1876 he began to compose again, and in 1883 was appointed as director of the Imperial Chapel. He retired in 1895, and continued composing, but by now considered old fashioned and was forgotten even by his old friends. However, one young composer, Igor Stravinsky had a soft spot for him, and pitied him as he suffered from bouts of depression.
“has this music in his soul. He plays with a crispness and clarity that is vital in this repertoire. Even though the recordings were made almost two decades ago, they remain fresh and worth hearing. Adding to the enjoyment is a good set of notes, including personal comments by the performer about each piece.” MusicWeb International, April 2011
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