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Grigory Feigin
Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915)

Violin Sonata in A minor (1911) [23:50]
Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894)

Violin Sonata No.2 in A minor Op.19 (1860s) [33:24]
Nicolai MEDTNER (1880-1951)

Nocturne in D minor Op.16 No.1 (1908) [5:11]
Leopold AUER (1845-1930)

Concert Tarantella [5:19]
Grigory Feigin (violin)
Victor Poltoratsky (piano)
Igor Chernyavsky (piano)
rec. 1975 (Taneyev, Rubinstein) 1977 (Auer); 1984 (Medtner)

Experience Classicsonline



Feigin. Or Feyghin. RCD prefers the latter transliteration for the violinist’s name in English but if Feigin is the preferred German spelling that’s how I and I suspect many a Miaskovskian will want it to remain. Because it was this splendid player who brought the latter’s concerto into the consciousness of so many and who was the first after David Oistrakh to record the work. It’s surprising going over his discography to appreciate just how anomalous an undertaking that actually was. His principal records were of trio repertoire with - I’m assuming – his cellist brother and the pianist Zhukov. They recorded all the Beethoven trios and Brahms’s Op.8. But Feigin did venture a little into sonata waters and of Russian repertoire he taped Denisov’s Sonata and Khandoshkin’s Third solo sonata. Perhaps his biggest sonata undertaking though was to set down the three Medtner sonatas and Canzonas 1 and 2. But overall it’s rather a spartan discography for so fine a player and very far less inclusive than that of Eduard Grach.

Feigin was born in 1937 and so is a little younger than Grach. He studied with Adolf Leschinsky, a pupil of Flesch, and then attended Oistrakh’s postgraduate class at the Moscow Conservatoire, another link with Grach. He won the 1964 Prague Spring Competition. The recital enshrined in this disc represents about a decade’s worth of performances. All but one is accompanied by the fine player Victor Poltoratsky.

The Taneyev sonata is a Russian favourite and one that native players are keen to play. Feigin emphasises the kinship with late Brahms. His performance is attractively autumnal and not at all off hand or thrusting. The slow movement is illustrative not only of the composer’s instinct for melodic beauty but for Feigin’s rapt sustaining of a singing line. The Minuet is pleasing and the finale smilingly vivacious and songful and a movement that has the courage to end gently. Feigin’s approach is very much to be contrasted with that of a more assertive and tensile Russian player – Igor Politkovsky, whose Taneyev recording made in 1982 can also be found in this series on RCD 16279.

Both Politkovsky and Feigin recorded Rubinstein as well – though Feigin the Op.19 sonata and Politkovsky the earlier Op.13. Feigin’s playing here is straightforward, gauche-free, masculine, bold and powerful. He has the grandeur and nobility to meet the lyric episodes in the slow movement head on and he doesn’t stint the Beethovenian rhetoric at the start of the finale either. This is highly effective playing all round.

Given his interest in Medtner one would expect the D minor Nocturne to be good and it’s certainly well projected and perceptively done with a fine cantabile. The recital ends with a tricksy piece from that scion of the Russian pedagogic school, Leopold Auer. The Concert Tarantella is a Paganini-meets-Iberia tester, which Feigin dispatches with aplomb.

This is a pleasurable if perhaps modest salute to a distinguished player. Let’s hope the rest of his discography can be profitably mined for the nuggets that are there and will reflect even more fully the range of his enthusiasms and talents.

Jonathan Woolf





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