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Russian Piano Music Series Vol. 1

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, December 1, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

McLachlan has long had a fine reputation as a performer of Russian music, as well as championing briliant but little-known composers such as Williamson and Chisholm (see the composer index). On this CD, he presents the Piano Sonatas nos 1 and 2 by Shostakovich with works by composers in his circle; though not Russian, the piece by Roland Stevenson is included both because it is based on Shostakovich's name, but also because Stevenson, politically, can genuinely be called a 'comrade' of those devoted to Socialism but fighting the Stalinist regime.

Review

McLachlan continues his musical excavations in fine style... he has Russian music as a prime love and it shows in his playing. A real find for those that want to expand horizons with a tour guide that loves his work --Midwest Record

A fine demonstration of McLachlan's virtuosity and stamina. Recommended --Musical Pointers
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Details

  • Performer: Murray McLachlan
  • Composer: Kabalevsky, Shostakovich, Stevenson
  • Audio CD (December 1, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Divine Art
  • ASIN: B002SYSHQA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,827 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Almost every piece on this 79 minute plus CD is from the Soviet era or penned by Russians. It will quickly become apparent to those who hear these works why such creativity in the Soviet system wasn't limited to only big symphonies and concertos, but also solo works for the piano. Kabalevsky was always jealous of the attention that Shostakovich got during his lifetime. His 3rd Piano Sonata let's you into his rival world and hear, as it were, the argument for the non-Shostakovich side of a living contemporary composer with the same ambitions and aspirations, but with less recognition. I don't know if I would say Kabalevsky's 3rd sonata is less success than Shostakovich here on this album as it is in competition with the Shostakovich 1st and 2nd piano sonatas which are like day and night. Less just say there is some distance between all three works.

Shostakovich's Piano Sonatas are the main feature of this CD. Here they are given great interpretations by Murray McLachlan. The first sonata is problem child born out of Shostakovich's youth. It literally is the first significant work that he wrote after his much acclaimed first symphony. He had some writer's block and takes some notes from Prokofiev's 2nd and 3rd piano sonatas to create something iconoclastic and new for the brave new Soviet nation.

The Shostakovich Piano Sonata No.2 is a wartime work written right after the symphony No.7 "Leningrad." It's opening movement is a bit tedious like Russian play "The Cherry Tree." It is a full blown sonata that is as much in competition with Beethoven's Piano Sonatas as it is with Prokofiev's. The main reward is the third movement which is marked Moderato, but is really "Theme and Variations.
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