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Boris GOLTZ (1913-1942)
Complete works for solo piano
Scherzo in E minor [4:02]
Twenty-Four Preludes op. 2 (1934-35) [32:41]
Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne in F op. 15 No. 1 [3:56]; Waltz in B minor op. 69 no. 2 [3:23]; Nocturne in D flat op. 27 no. 2 [3:23]; Polonaise in A flat op. 53 [6:26]
Sergei Podobedov (piano)
rec. Pavel Slobodkin Centre, Moscow, April 2007. DDD
MUSIC & ARTS CD-1210 [55:00]
Experience Classicsonline

Goltz was born in Tashkent but moved to Leningrad in the late 1920s. In 1934, the year in which he began his cycle of 24 Preludes, he entered the city's Conservatory. His other works include an orchestral overture, a piano concerto which is understood to be lost, a string quartet, various song-cycles and film music. He was at work on a symphony when the onslaught of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa launched the Great Patriotic War. He died, a member of the Baltic Navy, in Leningrad at the age of 28.

All credit to Muscovite Podobedov, a graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in his home city, for taking up the baton for this seemingly irretrievably neglected composer. A frequent visitor to his homeland Podobedov now resides in Oakland California. He mentions in his liner-notes that the 24 Preludes and the isolated Scherzo were published in the USSR in 1950 and then again in 1971. Goltz and Sofronitsky were in the same class in the Leningrad Conservatory in the 1930s. It is little surprise then that Sofronitsky recorded one of the Preludes (No. 4) and the Scherzo in 1938.

Goltz's Scherzo is a galloping piece with references to Prokofiev and perhaps to the wilder extremes explored by Lourié and Mossolov. The Preludes are all very brief. They range from romantic, to grotesque, fanciful, to tempestuously Scriabinesque, to exercises in mechanical celerity that would play well on a pianola roll. Impressionistic and obsessive dance pieces like No. 7 appear alongside skipping gnome dances like No. 12. Goltz, whether he knew it or not, was picking up on the inspiration of Prokofiev and Scriabin. Humorous character pieces such as No. 15 are alongside drowning pool contemplations such as the dankly sinking No.16, the militant aggression of Allegro con fuoco (No.20) and obsessive self-mesmerising pieces like the Allegretto (No.21). The final Allegro is threaded with Miaskovsky's optimism. As makeweights we have gracious performances of four Chopin pieces.

If you are a Russian piano music specialist you must have this. It's a discovery.

Rob Barnett


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