RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977)
Complete Piano Music: vol. 2
Sonatine Romantique, Op.4* [11:53]
Petite Suite, Op.6 [9:30]
Toccata No.1, Op.1* [5:34]
Pièces sans titres* [8:26]
Nocturne No.1, Op.2, No.1* [3:23]
Dance No.1, Op.2, No.2* [3:39]
Nocturne No.2, Op.8, No.1* [3:55]
Dance No.2, Op.8, No.2* [3:23]
Scherzo, Op.3 [3:36]
Message, Op.39* [9:35]
Georgio Koukl (piano)
rec. Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland, 18 March 2011, all tracks apart from the final track, 8 February, 2012.
* World Première Recording
GRAND PIANO GP632 [62:54]
Back in May 2012 when I reviewed the first volume of the set of what will eventually comprise eight discs I expressed my delight at the prospect of so many discoveries. With the release of this volume 2 the frisson of excitement continues apace with no fewer than eight of the ten works here being world premières.
This disc serves as further proof that Tcherepnin was a complete original with a unique way of expressing himself though at times as in the Sonatine Romantique I was reminded of that other great piano music composing maverick Charles Valentin Alkan. In the Marche from his Petite Suite it was Rachmaninov who came to mind. Despite the above comments the uniqueness of Tcherepnin’s compositions is on display throughout. The overriding impression is thrilling with not a single dull moment. Much of the music is a white knuckle ride of almost jaw dropping proportions as a listen to the Toccata No.1, Op.1 will confirm. The Pièces sans titres are youthful compositions as was the Sonatine Romantique and are real gems. In fact much of this music was written when Tcherepnin was a youth which makes it all the more remarkable. It is amazing to bear this in mind when listening to the manic Dance No.1, Op.2, No.2 from 1919 which has a whiff of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz about it. The Scherzo, Op.3 dates from 1917 and is another highly rhythmic and exciting work. The final offering and another world première is Message which was written in 1926. It is one of Tcherepnin’s longest solo piano works at almost ten minutes and as the booklet writers observe could contain a message. It is also true that, as the booklet states, this is music for serious listeners. You cannot allow you mind to wander if you are to appreciate the complex “interplay of the various elements” ending with the unusual addition of three sharp raps on the body of the piano.
Getting to know more of Tcherepnin’s brilliant and wonderful music has been one of the highlights of my musical year and I cannot wait for further releases. As with Volume 1 Giorgio Koukl’s playing is phenomenal and it needs to be to allow a full appreciation of this music. This disc was a truly superb listening experience.
A truly superb listening experience.
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