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Viktor Stepanovych KOSENKO (1896-1938)
Piano Music - vol. 1

Eleven Etudes in the Form of Old Dances op. 19 (1927-29) [69:01] (1 Gavotte in D flat major - Allegro mosso [4:09]; 2 Allemande in B flat minor - Moderato [7:06]; 3 Menuet in G major - Allegretto [5:18]; 4 Courante in E minor - Vivace [3:55]; 5 Sarabande in A minor - Adagio [5:53]; 6 Bourree in A major - Allegro [5:07]; 7 Gavotte in B minor - Allegro moderato [3:14]; 8 Rigaudon in C major - Vivace [3:48]; 9 Menuet in E flat major - Allegretto [5:08]; 10 Passacaglia in G minor - Andante con grandezza [18:49]; 11 Gigue in D minor - Presto [6:27])
Natalya Shkoda (piano)
rec. Katzin Concert Hall, School of Music, Arizona State University, 21 December 2005. DDD
first Western recording

Experience Classicsonline


The Ukrainian composer Kosenko was born in St Petersburg where he later studied. His works include three piano sonatas written in the 1920s and concertos for violin (1919) and cello (1928). Were any of these ever recorded by Melodiya, I wonder. He remains a revered figure in Ukrainian musical circles and we are indebted to Natalya Shkoda for this recording and for excellent background notes.

Kosenko's op. 11 takes a miscellany of old dance forms and twists and turns them into late-romantic forms yet never extrudes them so far that they lose their connection with 'antiquity'. A sense of pristine preservation from the eras of Bach, Handel and Haydn hangs over the proceedings and the romantic overlay can be variously approximated to Chopin and Rachmaninov. There’s even something of Medtner in the case of the B minor Gavotte. Certainly there is nothing wilder here. If there are parallels with Prokofiev it is the Prokofiev of the Classical Symphony and of parts of Romeo and Juliet not the Scythian Suite. Bach-Finzi trills can be heard in the Sarabande. The Gavotte has the playfulness of Warlock's Capriol. Only in the penultimate Passacaglia - which at 18:49 dwarfs every one of the other movements - is the predilection for the confines of polished craftsmanship transcended. This major piece has the bearing of a piano sonata in which grand designs are present and are fully grasped. The music moves with ease and inevitability around the compass points: Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninov.

The recording conveys an extremely natural piano sound.

This is serious-minded music-making despatched with total and eloquent identification by Shkoda. The music sings in a skein of convincingly meshed earlier classical styles which are made to meet and interact with Chopin and Rachmaninov.

Rob Barnett


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