Anatoly LYADOV (1855-1914)
Complete Piano Works
CD 1: 1876-1879, opp.2-4
CD 2: 1881-1889, opp.5- 17
CD 3: 1889-1893, opp.21- 32
CD 4: 1893-1898, opp.34- 44
CD 5: 1899-1913, op.46-op.posth.
Track-list at end of review
Marco Rapetti (piano)
Akane Makita (piano II - 5 works only);
Giampoalo Nuti and Daniela de Santis (piano III, IV - one work only)
rec. Villa Vespucci, San Felice a Ema, Florence, Italy, 4-7 January, 12-15 December 2010. DDD
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94155 [5 CDs: 52:37 + 56:30 + 57:44 + 59:08 + 58:42 + CD-ROM]
Lyadov's name is as often transliterated as 'Liadov' - indeed, when Brilliant released his (nearly) Complete Orchestral Works in 2010 (see review), that was the spelling they used. That particular 'set' was a single CD , as Lyadov's piano works constitute the biggest component of an output that was somewhat diminutive. Lyadov was too laid-back, too indolent to be 'driven', a fact that manifests itself even in his piano music, where he eschewed the sonata tradition - not to mention emotional depth - in favour of short forms. In nearly five hours of music in this mega-recital by the Italian pianist Marco Rapetti, the average piece or movement lasts a little over two minutes!
Yet Lyadov makes a scene with almost every item, not just in terms of sheer quantity of notes, but in the variety, colour, elegance, humour and plain old bravura that turn up on almost every page, even where the pieces come in the short side of a minute, as they frequently do. On CDs 1 and 2 Lyadov bears a strong resemblance to Chopin - there are mazurkas and preludes in particular dotted throughout his oeuvre. Elsewhere there are shades of Schumann in some of the suites of character miniatures, and Bach in various Canons, Fugues and certain other pieces.
Rather curiously, though something of Tchaikovsky, Borodin or even, in the final works, Skriabin is recognisable, Lyadov's music is seldom very Russian, despite the fact that he was often drawn to Russian literary and folk material for inspiration. Instead he often sounds more Polish or German. On the later discs - the works appear in chronological order throughout - his harmonic language is more exotic as he moves towards Balakirev and Skriabin, and in individual pieces a certain degree of orientalism, or central Asian folk infusion, suggests itself; yet the emphasis on entertaining melodic invention is always there.
There is simply no earthly reason why any number of these stylish, intimate gems should not appear on every recitalist's programme - many of them make ideal crowd-pleasing encore pieces. Sadly though, only the Musical Snuffbox op.32 seems to have any kind of toe-hold, the numerous recordings in both piano and orchestral versions attesting to its catchiness.
Several of the works here are credited as premiere recordings, although there are no undiscovered masterpieces newly revealed: it is simply the case that Rapetti has tried to record everything. In this regard he and Brilliant have rather stolen Olga Solovieva and Toccata Classics' thunder - their own project was begun in 2010, but to date only the first volume (TOCC 0082) has appeared of what the blurb evidently prematurely describes as "the first-ever recording" of Lyadov's complete piano works. The only other comparable collection is the 2008 Hyperion recording by Stephen Coombs - see review for details.
In his recital Rapetti certainly does not shy from taking flamboyant liberties with Lyadov's scores, albeit to voice his own artistic persona rather than through want of technique or expressiveness. Despite the brevity of individual pieces, Lyadov was an accomplished pianist and the tricky passages, or those requiring eloquence of touch, come thick and fast throughout - yet Rapetti does not wilt. His recording of the complete piano works by Borodin on a single disc was released a couple of years ago to widespread praise (review). The recording location is the same there as here, and Rapetti is presumably playing the same Steinway - the slight twanginess of tone is still audible in the louder dynamics.
Sound quality is good though, even if Rapetti appears to have an ancillary microphone taped to his cheek, so stertorous is some of his breathing. There are also some Glenn Gould-style groans, though rather more discreet. It must be said, however, that these noises are only likely to be much of an issue to headphone users, and even then only the most contumacious would be deterred from experiencing the shared delights of Rapetti's and Lyadov's musicianship.
The five CDs come in a sturdy, glossy clamshell-style box, each disc housed in its own card sleeve, with a tracklisting on the back of each. The CD booklet gives a detailed listing over six sides, plus the recording details. Notes by Rapetti, in English and Italian, appear on the accompanying CD ROM as pdf files, although the English version on the review set was corrupted. The data disc further contains a selection of images, showing various objects, germane and less so - Rimsky-Korsakov's sofa, for one - all of which are likely easy to find on the internet, so not really worth the bother. The rest of the product remains a serious bargain, however.
Collected reviews and contact at
Variety, colour, elegance, humour and plain old bravura ... a serious bargain.
Track list
CD 1 [52:37]
Spillikins, op.2 (1876) [31:11]
3 Pieces, op.3a (1876) [6:33]
3 Mazurkas, op.3b (1877) [7:10]
Arabesques, op.4 (1878) [12:35]
24 Variations and Finale on a Simple Theme, for piano 4 hands (in collaboration with Cui and Rimsky–Korsakov) (1878) [6:49]
4 Paraphrases on a Simple Theme, for piano 4 hands (1878–79) [6:17]
CD 2 [56:30]
Etude in A flat, op.5 (1881) [2:52]
Impromptu in D, op.6 (1881) [1:32]
2 Intermezzi, op.7 (1881) [5:22]
2 Intermezzi, op.8 (1883) [5:26]
2 Pieces, op.9 (1883) [4:54]
3 Pieces, op.10 (1884) [6:36]
3 Pieces, op.11 (1885) [8:26]
Etude in E, op.12 (1886) [2:01]
Song of Praise, for piano 4 hands (1887) [3:49]
4 Preludes, op.13 (1887) [6:17]
2 Mazurkas, op.15 (1887) [2:30]
2 Sketches, op.17 (1887) [3:40]
Novelette, op.20 (1882–89) [2:54]
CD 3 [57:44]
Procession (1889) [1:24]
About Olden Times - Ballade, op.21 (1889) [4:09]
Bagatelle in D flat, op.30 (1889) [2:07]
3 Pieces op.33 (1889) [4:53]
In the Glade - Sketch, op.23 (1890) [4:01]
2 Pieces, op.24 (1890) [6:39]
Joke-Quadrille, for piano 4 hands (1890) [6:50]
Idylle, op.25 (1891) [6:10]
Little Waltz, op.26 (1891) [2:27]
3 Preludes, op.27 (1891) [4:26]
Marionettes, op.29 (1892) [5:39]
2 Pieces, op.31 (1893) [6:47]
A Musical Snuffbox, op.32 (1893) [2:10]
CD 4 [59:08]
Celebration, for piano 4 hands (1893) [1:10]
3 Canons, op.34 (1894) [3:17]
Variations on a Theme by Glinka, op.35 (1894) [15:22]
Prelude-Pastorale in A (1894) [2:08]
3 Preludes, op.36 (1895) [2:46]
Etude in F, op.37 (1895) [1:36]
Mazurka in F, op.38 (1895) [3:24]
4 Preludes, op.39 (1895) [6:05]
Sarabande in G Minor (1895) [3:15]
2 Fugues, op.41 (1896) [4:47]
Prelude in F, op.posth. (1897) [0:39]
Etude in C# minor, op.40a (1897) [2:01]
3 Preludes, op.40b (1897) [4:09]
2 Preludes, op.42a (1898) [1:46]
Mazurka on Polish themes in A, op.42b (1898) [2:15]
Barcarolle in F#, op.44 (1898) [4:22]
CD 5 [58:42]
Variations on a Russian Folk Theme (1899) (with sections by Rimsky-Korsakov, Winkler, Blumenfeld, Sokolov, Vitols and Glazunov) [10:29]
4 Preludes, op.46 (1899) [4:09]
Glory, for 2 pianos 8 hands, op.47 (1899) [2:05]
Etude in A, op.48a (1899) [2:23]
Canzonetta in B flat, op.48b (1899) [2:21]
Variations on a Polish Folk Theme, op.51 (1901) [12:06]
3 Ballet Numbers, op.52 (1901) [6:09]
3 Bagatelles, op.53 (1903) [2:12]
Prelude in D flat, op.57 no.1 (1900) [2:20]
Valse in E, op.57 no.2 (1905) [1:53]
Mazurka in F minor, op.57 no.3 (1905) [1:21]
4 Pieces, op.64 (1909) [5:30]
Mosquito Dance - Russian Folksong (1911) [0:49]
10 Children's Songs, for piano 4 & 2 hands, op.posth. [3:21]
Scherzo (Chorus) in B minor, op.posth. [0:46]
Fuga on La–Do–Fa (1913), op.posth. [0:44]