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Herman GALYNIN (1922-1966)
Piano Music - Volume 1: Sonata Triad (1939-41) [15:52]; Suite (1945) [11:26]; Four Preludes (c. 1939) [7:16]; Waltz (c. 1939) [1:25]; Dance (c. 1939) [1:45]; Spanish Fantasy (c. 1939) [4:44]; The Tamer Tamed (1944) [8:00]
Olga Solovieva (piano)
rec. Moscow Theatre and Concert Centre, 19 October, 2 November 2006. DDD
first recordings
Experience Classicsonline


Galynin studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Shostakovich and is as close in style to his teacher as Arensky was to Tchaikovsky. That said, Galynin has a much higher quotient of creative individuality than the delightful but epigonic Arensky. Galynin’s other main composition teacher was Miaskovsky but I confess I hear little or nothing of Miaskovsky’s nostalgia or heroic electricity in Galynin's mature writing. There is, it seems, an opera Farizet, plenty of works for solo piano and a Piano Concerto (1946) praised to the skies by Shostakovich. It has been recorded a remarkable five times with conductors ranging from Svetlanov to Samosud and Fedoseyev to Maxim Shostakovich . Galynin’s Suite for Strings, once recorded in 1957 by Nikolai Anosov is also highly spoken of as are the oratorio Death and the Maiden and the orchestral piece Epic Poem. There is a string quartet No. 2 (1956) and a Second Piano Concerto (1965) also.

We turn now to the disc which represents another original project from Toccata. There's no helping it, the pounded sardonic fusillade that is the first movement of Sonata Triad sounds like the faster ironic sections of Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto. This is brilliantly creative writing becoming much more personal in the third and final section. The version recorded here was revised in 1963; I wonder how much different it was from the wartime original. The Suite is a brooding piece, tolling, powerful and in the finale brusquely feral as befits its time of composition. The first two of the Four Preludes are placid and poetic, untroubled by the grotesquerie that plays the Prokofiev-like goblin caper through the scherzando. The final Lento has a vulnerable smile that at first recalls John Ireland but rises to darkling majesty of a type found at the core of the more dramatic of Rachmaninov's Etudes-Tableaux. Next come three more very early pieces including an innocent yet devil-may-care Waltz, a pianola-style pointed Dance and a knowing little scherzo, all in metropolitan sophisticated style. The little Spanish Fantasy continues a Russian-Iberian which can be traced back to Glinka. The three pieces from The Tamer Trained are steely-delicate, steely motoric and steely Neapolitan. The five pleasing miniature portraits that comprise At the Zoo were written in collaboration with Mikhail Ziv. They were written for performance by children.

The liner-notes are of Toccata’s accustomed encyclopaedic depth. The author is Louis Blois who I hope we will hear more from in future.

This is music deeply indebted to Shostakovich yet redeemed by an irrepressible personality. May Volume 2 be not far behind.

Rob Barnett




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