Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Alexander SKRIABIN (1872-1915)
Sonata-Fantasia no.2, op.19 (1892-7) [12:47]
Two Poems, op.32 (1903) [5:05]
Five Preludes, op.74 (1914) [7:12]
Three Etudes, op.65 (1911-12) [7:26]
Nikolai ROSLAVETS (1881-1944)
Sonata no.2 (1916) [12:07]
Two Poems (1920) [5:26]
Five Preludes (1919-22) [10:16]
Three Etudes (1914) [12:49]
Anya Alexeyev (piano)
rec. Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, 26 October, 22 November 2009. DDD
MARQUIS 81415 [72:46]

Experience Classicsonline

This recording is premised on an enterprising and much undervalued idea: a direct comparison of identically titled works of two near-contemporaries - in this case, one well-known, the other less so. In her second recording for Canadian label Marquis, Russian pianist Anya Alexeyev performs side by side not only the Second Sonatas of Skriabin and Nikolai Roslavets, but also works they both called Two Poems, Five Preludes and Three Etudes. There are further surface similarities immediately apparent from Alexeyev's programme too: the Second Sonatas are both atypically in two movements, and both the Sonatas and the pairs of Two Poems are of almost identical length.

Ostensibly then, Roslavets appears to be imitating Skriabin - in every case he, younger by nearly ten years, wrote his work up to two decades after his illustrious compatriot. Coincidence can be ruled out by the fact that Roslavets, like much of artistic Europe, knew Skriabin's music and theories, and held him in high esteem. Yet Roslavets did not follow Skriabin down the road of mysticism - on the contrary, he became known as a Constructivist, a vaguish term in music that meant he was, in so many words, a modernist.

In fact, Roslavets was sometimes known, not altogether enlighteningly, as the 'Russian Schoenberg', chiefly for his 'synthetic chord' theory, in which he was inspired by Skriabin's 'chord of Prometheus', and which he eventually expanded to include rhythm and other musical elements. In terms of sounds made by instruments for audiences, Roslavets's theory produced music that is densely chromatic, or 'post-tonal', and the effect might be characterised as a kind of listener-friendlier version of serialism.

In any case, a similarity of style - or at least effect - in these works is striking. Skriabin was already dead by the time Roslavets wrote most of this music, and for non-specialised audiences at least, Roslavets's sounds like a continuation of Skriabin's. Not merely a continuation, however, but an advancement: Roslavets certainly cannot be said to emerge from this comparison as the lesser composer.

Musical similarities and differences are most obvious in the Three Etudes, written within a couple of years of each, though Skriabin was close to the end of his short, troubled life, whereas Roslavets's career was just lifting off. Skriabin's Etudes are difficult enough studies in parallel ninths, sevenths and fifths, but those by Roslavets make them seem almost like child's play; in her notes, indeed, Anna Ferenc describes these "studies in rhythmic contortion" as among the most difficult pieces in the piano repertoire, sometimes requiring four staves for notation!

The full extent of musical isomorphism may be partially slurred by Anya Alexeyev's style. There is certainly a degree of uniformity of mood in all but the Sonatas - restraint, languor, introversion - not entirely accounted for by the two composers' dynamics markings. Nevertheless, Alexeyev is clearly a fine soloist, and her Russian pianist bloodline gives her essential insight into the minds of Roslavets and - to the extent that it is possible - of Skriabin.

After early championing by the likes of Richter and Horowitz, Skriabin's piano music is fairly well represented in recordings, for example Maria Lettberg's impressive account of the complete solo piano works in Capriccio's recent 8-CD and bonus DVD set (see review). Thankfully too, Roslavets's piano music has had a handful of recordings devoted to it by now, most notably a 1997 Hyperion release (66926) by Marc-André Hamelin, and Irina Emeliantseva on Neos (10902), both featuring all the works played here by Alexeyev, and more.

This new disc remains, however, an attractive choice for the curious. Sound quality is excellent. The bad news is, there is no CD booklet as such - just a few basic details about the programme and Alexeyev printed straight onto the card case. The good news is, a PDF document can be downloaded for free (no purchase necessary) from Marquis's website here, with notes by Anna Ferenc, author of Roslavets's entry in the Grove Music Online.

Collected reviews and contact at


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.