From nostalgic memories, the sound of bells, the winds of the steppes, to visions of a flickering future; Russian piano music, from Mussorgsky to Scriabin, finds its perilous equilibrium in a romantic past, beyond the immense, icy landscapes, with intimate confessions from heartbroken souls, with a virtuosity vying with the opera and the orchestra yet which retains the gentleness of a lullaby, of a child's laughter, of a disenchanted poem scribbled down one evening of drunken melancholy. From Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninov, by way of Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Mussorgsky, it is a journey that takes us from St Petersburg to Moscow, across that vast country with its universal emotions. The piano is the instrument of kings, in the nineteenth century above all. Rachmaninoff, as we know from his recordings, was probably the greatest of them all: virtuosic and inspired, a visionary and a poet. Scriabin, before he injured his right hand (whence the Prelude for left hand op.9), also planned a solo career. Mussorgsky, too, was an excellent pianist. Only Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Tchaikovsky were no more than competent amateurs on the piano, but that did not prompt them to give up composing for the instrument - far from it, in fact.
“although she brings out their poetry and reveals witty dexterity in Flight of the Bumblebee, Le Guay is no match for the great interpreters in certain cornerstones of the repertory.”
“Personal and eloquent, warm and affectionate, nothing is heavily personalised or idiosyncratic. For the most part her manner is gentle and caressing, almost as if played before a small circle of intimate friends...In larger-scale Scriabin and Rachmaninov her unerring balance of sense and sensibility provides a fine alternative to, say, Horowitz's searing intensity”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.