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Vladimir REBIKOV (1866-1920)
Piano music
Feuilles d'Automne op. 29 (6) [18:31]
Les Feux du Soir (5) (1904) [16:02]
Mélomimiques op. 11 (2) [5:06]
Les Rêves - Nereid op. 15 (1898) [5:46]
Parmi eux op. 35 (Ils dansent, Danse avec une cloche, Berceuse, Danse du quadrupède, Elles dansent, Danse des petits) [9:23]
Scènes Bucolique op. 28 (Dans les vignes, Pastorelle, Danse des Bergerettes, Danse des Bergers, Ronde des elfes) [9:27]
Trois Idylles op. 50 (Hymne au soleil, Dans un vaste espace, Parmi les fleurs) (1913) [7:35]
Fleurs d'Automnes (3) [7:00]
Les Reves - Les Démons s'Amusent op. 15 [0:56].
Jouni Somero (piano)
rec. 13 Nov 2010, Kuusaa Hall, Kuusankoski, Finland. DDD
FC RECORDS FCRCD 9739 [77:48]

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Finnish pianist Jouni Somero is a pianistic powerhouse. He vies in multifarious enthusiasm for neglected composers with the likes of Michael Ponti in his Vox piano concerto series in the 1970s. He has already given us five volumes of Finnish piano music, a series of eight volumes of Bortkiewicz as well as single disc selections by Godard and many others. This is the fifth disc in his Russian Project. Previous instalments were: FCRCD-9720 Tchaikovsky 1; FCRCD-9724 Arensky; FCRCD-9728 Tchaikovsky 2; FCRCD-9732 Rubinstein.
Rebikov was born in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia and died at the age of 54 in Yalta. By then his music had been largely forgotten. His reputation fell into the crevasse between the Russian nationalists and the 'modernists’ of the 1920s such as Lourié, Mosolov and Roslavets. His first compositions were written to a salon style-guide. But after a spell in Vienna his music took on a grittier aspect. His opera The Christmas Tree includes parts of sprechgesang à la Schoenberg. In his Turgenev-based 1916 opera The Gentry Nest the characters sing only when the plot requires singing and otherwise speak – so the result is part opera; part melodrama. He gave concerts across Europe and met Debussy and Nedbal. He made his home in Yalta in 1909 and died there some eleven years later.
The Feuilles d'Automne op. 29 (6) alternates in style between the remorseless (in Tristezza) and the salon MacDowell (in Pregando). Con afflizione aspires beyond such inoffensive clichés with melancholy beauty. The richly expressionistic Con dolore indulges in chordal complexity. Con tristessa is more salon-like - rather in the manner of Einaudi, oddly enough. These pieces, at least when conventional, are grist to the mills of pianists looking for mood-pieces for silent films. Les Feux du Soir (5) (1904) has two pensive Lentos and a Sostenuto that would fit rather nicely into the score for a romantic French film of the 1950s. There are more MacDowell tributes in the Andante and the Moderato. The two Mélomimiques op. 11 comprise a heart-swelling sob of a Tempo ad libitum and a gently musing Moderato. There are two pieces from Les Rêves op. 15 (1898): Nereid seems to be a watery creation.
The supernatural Parmi eux op. 35 includes Ils dansent which is dankly Mussorgskian and heavy with doom, a striking and icy ‘goblin dance’ under the title Danse avec une cloche, a slow tolling dreamy Berceuse, a gawky strut entitled Danse du quadrupède, a plangently liquid and shivery Elles dansent and Danse des petits which, contrary to expectations, is not at all innocent and has a slight Scottish snap to it. In Scènes Bucolique op. 28 Dans les vignes is truly exciting and transcends the salon. Pastorelle is a dewy aubade of a piece. Danse des Bergerettes evokes the skirl of the pipes and has the classical poise of a Haydn symphony. Danse des Bergers is more animated - glittering and crystalline. Ronde des elfes has a title that might suggest Mendelssohn but in fact is more Liadov.
Then come Trois Idylles op. 50: the impressive Hymne au soleil, with its determined and decisive rhetorical bell sounds tolled out molto forza, has a hard-edged Petrushka-like attack; Dans un vaste espace, which defies the title by being not at all like Scriabin, instead appears to voice a lonely baying. Parmi les fleurs suggests amethyst blooms and stems. Fleurs d'Automnes is written in a style like a less complex Medtner, more sentimental hearts and flowers MacDowellism. Les Démons s'Amusent has a stony vitriolic edge – a wild dance.
The notes are by Petri Sariola and defeat the often barely acceptable English language notes provided for other FC releases from Somero.
Anthony Goldstone recorded a Rebikov collection for The Divine Art (review).
This is a stimulating collection with some surprises along the way.
Rob Barnett
















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