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BALAKIREV, Mili Alekseyevich (1837-1910)

COMPLETE PIANO WORKS • 1

PIANO SONATAS


  • Nicholas Walker, piano

Balakirev’s Sonata in B flat minor, Op. 5 (1905) is the summit of his ambition to create a work that expresses the entire history of Russia. This highly original and most moving of all Russian Sonatas encapsulates all three Sonatas, having begun life as the Grande Sonate, Op. 3 (1855), here recorded for the first time, subsequently becoming the First Sonata (1856). This recording of the Sonata, Op. 5 is the first to have been made from the original manuscript, without the mistakes to be found in the two published scores.

Tracklist

 
Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor (1905) (00:25:29 )
1
I. Andantino (00:06:23)
2
II. Mazurka: Moderato (00:05:14)
3
III. Intermezzo: Larghetto (00:04:18)
4
IV. Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco (00:08:32)
 
Piano Sonata No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 5 (1856) (00:20:33 )
5
I. Andante - Allegro assai, feroce (00:10:52)
6
II. Mazurka: Tempo di mazurka (00:03:53)
7
III. Andante (00:06:01)
 
Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 3, "Grande Sonate" () (00:30:45 )
8
I. Allegro feroce * (00:12:00)
9
II. Mazurka * (00:03:52)
10
III. Larghetto * (00:08:12)
11
IV. Finale: Allegro grazioso * (00:06:22)
12
V. Epilogue: Fuga * (00:00:44)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:16:23

The Artist(s)

Nicholas Walker studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Moscow Conservatoire. Winner of the first Newport International Piano competition, he has performed with major British Orchestras, given recitals worldwide, and recorded for the BBC, BMG Arte Nova, ASV, Chandos and Danacord labels.

The Composer(s)

A brilliant pianist, improviser, noted conductor and selfless champion of other composers, Balakirev is surprisingly little known today. Yet as leader of the Russian composers known as ‘The Mighty Handful’, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin and Cui, he strongly influenced not only their work but also that of Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, setting the standard by which others were judged. In addition to a large output of piano music and songs, Balakirev wrote two symphonies, several symphonic poems, works for piano and orchestra, choral music and incidental music for Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Reviews

Diapason

“Nicholas Walker serves this music with brio, without any loss of intensity” – Diapason

“All the playing is exemplary and Nicholas Walker…has added another powerful voice to the demands for a reappraisal of this neglected composer. ” – MusicWeb International

“He [Walker] has the full technical capability to handle all of the demands of this score, which also bodes well for future volumes in the series.” – American Record Guide

“The fireworks that Nicholas Walker set off here are fun and provide the perfect introduction to the popular power of the “neo Russian school”. ” – Spiegel Online