A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

BALAKIREV, MILY ALEXEYEVICH (1837–1910)

Complete Piano Works (6-CD Boxed Set)


  • Nicholas Walker, piano

Mili Balakirev remains one of the most atmospheric and significant of all Russian composers for the piano. From the Slavic allure of his Mazurkas, through the visionary Second Nocturne and monumental Sonata in B flat minor, to his joyous Spanish-infused pieces, he marries expressive depth with virtuoso panache. Hailed as ‘one of Britain’s best pianists’ by The Spectator, Nicholas Walker has returned to Balakirev’s original manuscripts for these performances and unearthed many new discoveries. This collection brings together Walker’s complete set of Balakirev’s piano works in a cycle that has been hailed as ‘the reference set’ by the American Record Guide.

Tracklist

Disc 1
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
 
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)
Disc 2
1
Waltz No. 1 in G Major (1900) (00:07:39)
2
Nocturne No. 1 in B-Flat Minor (1898) (00:05:30)
3
Waltz No. 2 in F Minor (1900) (00:05:24)
4
Waltz No. 3 in D Major (1901) (00:05:11)
5
Nocturne No. 2 in B Minor () (00:07:44)
6
Waltz No. 4 in B-Flat Major (1902) (00:05:59)
7
Nocturne No. 3 in D Minor (1902) (00:06:13)
8
Waltz No. 5 in D-Flat Major (1903) (00:06:55)
9
Nocturne in G-Sharp Minor () (00:05:57)
10
Fantasy Piece in D-Flat Major (1902) (00:04:05)
11
Waltz No. 6 in F-Sharp Minor (1903) (00:05:29)
12
Chant du Pecheur (1903) (00:03:31)
13
Waltz No. 7 in G-Sharp Minor (1906) (00:06:09)
Disc 3
1
Mazurka No. 1 in A-Flat Major (1861) (00:04:03)
2
Mazurka No. 2 in C-Sharp Minor (1884) (00:02:27)
 
Piano Sonatina in G Major, "Esquisses" (1909) (00:05:26 )
3
I. Allegro moderato (00:02:02)
4
II. L'Istesso tempo (00:01:51)
5
III. Coda: Poco a poco più agitato (00:01:32)
6
Berceuse in D-Flat Major (1901) (00:06:30)
7
Mazurka No. 3 in B Minor (1886) (00:05:27)
8
Mazurka No. 4 in G-Flat Major (1886) (00:05:02)
9
Dumka in E-Flat Minor, "Complainte" (1900) (00:05:14)
10
Mazurka No. 5 in C-Sharp Major (1884 version, completed by N. Walker) (1884) (00:05:27)
11
Rêverie in F Major (1903) (00:05:41)
12
Humoresque in D Major (1903) (00:04:53)
13
Mazurka No. 6 in A-Flat Major (1902) (00:06:21)
14
Piece in F-Sharp Minor (1851, 2nd version completed by N. Walker) (1851) (00:03:19)
15
Mazurka No. 7 in E-Flat Minor (1906) (00:06:57)
16
Capriccio in D Major (1902) (00:09:43)
Disc 4
1
Scherzo No. 1 in B Minor (1856) (00:07:40)
2
Novelette in A Major (1906) (00:05:54)
3
10 Songs (1896): No. 2. Pustïnya (The Wilderness) (version for piano) (1896) (00:03:14)
4
Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor (1900) (00:07:52)
5
Fandango-étude (1856) (00:05:52)
6
Sérénade espagnole (1902) (00:04:40)
7
Glinka - Jota aragonesa (version for piano) (1864) (00:10:56)
8
Berlioz - La fuite en Egypte: Ouverture (1864) (00:06:32)
9
Scherzo No. 3 in F-Sharp Major (1901) (00:05:29)
10
Mélodie espagnole () (00:03:19)
11
Taneyev - Valse-Caprice No. 1 in A-Flat Major (1900) (00:05:57)
12
Taneyev - Valse-Caprice No. 2 in D-Flat Major (1900) (00:06:10)
Disc 5
1
Réminiscences de l'opéra La vie pour le czar (1899) (00:11:54)
Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
2
Ruslan i Lyudmila: Chernomor's march (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1890) (00:04:19)
Chopin, Fryderyk
3
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11: II. Romanza: Larghetto (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1830) (00:08:06)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
4
Impromptu (after Chopin's Preludes) (1907) (00:04:57)
Chopin, Fryderyk
5
Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31 (cadenza by M.A. Balakirev) (1837) (00:10:40)
Liszt, Franz
6
Mazurka brillante, S221/R43 (1850) (00:04:48)
7
Mazurka brillante, S221/R43 (cadenza by M.A. Balakirev) (1850) (00:04:56)
Beethoven, Ludwig van
8
String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, "Rasumovsky": III. Allegretto (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1862) (00:06:52)
9
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: V. Cavatina (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1859) (00:05:52)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
10
Gondellied in A Minor () (00:06:43)
11
Tarantella in B Major (1901) (00:05:54)
12
Polonaise Brillante () (00:03:11)
Disc 6
1
La fileuse (The Spinner) (1906) (00:03:23)
2
Au jardin (In the Garden), "Idyll-étude" (1884) (00:04:38)
Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
3
Kamarinskaya (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1848) (00:07:48)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
4
Tamara (arr. N. Walker for piano) (1882) (00:21:10)
5
Polka in F-Sharp Minor (1859) (00:02:44)
6
Elegy on the Death of a Mosquito (completed by N. Walker) (1855) (00:01:11)
7
La danse de sorcières (Witches' Dance) (completed by N. Walker) (1856) (00:02:58)
Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
8
Ne govori: lyubov' proydyot (Do not Say: Love Passes Away) (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1834) (00:04:18)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
9
Tyrolienne (1902) (00:04:50)
Zapol'sky, Platon Vasil'evich
10
Rêverie (arr. M.A. Balakirev for piano) (1890) (00:06:53)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich
11
Toccata in C-Sharp Minor (1902) (00:04:25)
12
Glinka - A Farewell to St. Petersburg: No. 10. Zhavoronok (The Lark) (1864) (00:05:32)
13
Islamey, "Oriental Fantasy" (1869) (00:08:51)
Total Time: 07:39:06

The Artist(s)

Nicholas Walker 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.
Beethoven did much to enlarge the possibilities of music and widen the horizons of later generations of composers.
Glinka is commonly regarded as the founder of Russian nationalism in music. His influence on Balakirev, self-appointed leader of the later group of five nationalist composers, was considerable. As a child he had some lessons from the Irish pianist John Field, but his association with music remained purely amateur until visits to Italy and in 1833 to Berlin allowed concentrated study and subsequently a greater degree of assurance in his composition, which won serious attention both at home and abroad. His Russian operas offered a synthesis of Western operatic form with Russian melody, while his orchestral music, with skillful instrumentation, offered a combination of the traditional and the exotic. Glinka died in Berlin in 1857.