One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

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


Plain text for smartphones & printers

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

Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £10.50 postage paid world-wide.

Anatoly ALEXANDROV (1888–1982)
Piano Music - Volume Two
Two Pieces, Op. 3 (1913-1919) [9:20]
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 12 (1918) [13:49]
Two Passages, Op. 16a (1923) [5:30]
Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 19 (1922 rev 1954) [17:57]
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 4 (1914) [7:29]
Piano Sonata No. 6, Op. 26 (1926) [15:07]
Little Suite No. 1, Op. 33 (1929) [7:49]
Kyung-Ah Noh (piano)
rec. 23 May 2013, 7-8 Jan 2014, Murchison Performing Arts Center, University of North Texas, Denton, USA.

In 2008, in reviewing Hamish Milne's then unique Alexandrov recital for Hyperion, I said that there was room for further such collections. At the time I had not contemplated a systematic survey such as Kyung-Ah Noh and Toccata have launched. This is the second volume in their very welcome elite odyssey and it is generously timed. Volume 1 was reviewed here not so long ago by Philip Buttall and the second instalment is following promptly. Philip is quoted on page 6 of the insert booklet.

The pianist chosen — more accurately perhaps she chose Alexandrov — is handsomely suited to this music which gloriously bestrides the romantic and the impressionistic worlds and does so with wholly Russian intensity and often subtle majesty. Alexandrov can be a shade less oblique than Medtner with a predilection for the melodic and the sumptuous. Even so he stays just the right side of exaggerated emotionalism. Take the two pieces op. 3 - each a meaty essay. They have a dreamy dominance which comes as no surprise in the Nocturne but which carries over into the Waltz. The single movement Second Sonata is impetuous and stormy. It is well suited to stand alongside the Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux. Kyung-Ah Noh presents it unfalteringly with a sense of a single articulated span of thought and emotional epiphany. A bell tower resonant with victory rings out in its final few pages; think in terms of Bax's First Sonata and Rachmaninov's two piano suites. Five years later came Two Passages from the Music to M. Maeterlinck’s drama ‘Ariana and Bluebeard’ with the almost static gleam of Amethysts and the animated rush of The Enchanted Castle - a piece marked. 'Volando'.

From 1922 comes the 18-minute Fourth Sonata which is in three movements and was revised in 1954. With such a long separation one wonders how the original differs from what we hear now. Again the progress of the music is something of a mercurial vortex with dreaminess, grand guignol, passionate assaults and regal rhetoric. Melancholy reflection and even Slavonic gloom is to be found in the central Andante meditativo. The First Sonata - Sonata-Skazka dates from 1914 and treats us to a substantial confection of tremulous romance (tr. 9 1:18) and glistening rainbow textures. Contemporary comparison with parallel works by Medtner and Scriabin resulted in this sonata being completely rewritten in 1964 as his Sonata No. 13. The Sixth Sonata (1926) is in three movements, each lasting about five minutes. The same iridescent colours and eddies of poetic mood are to be heard in the first and last movements but a more stark yet endearing embrace with melody comes to the fore in the Adagio. The finale indulges in a Prokofiev-like grotesquerie and brilliance. We conclude with the Little Suite No.1: a Fairy Lullaby which sets a lulling motion against a hint of threat; a busy and raging little Etude, a quietly regretful and lovingly limned Mélodie and, to end, A Joke which by no means dispels the poetry.

The long-lived Alexandrov wrote a great deal of solo piano music including fourteen sonatas yet there is so much more that lies in the archives calling out for revival: a piano concerto, two symphonies, five operas and four string quartets.

The excellent notes are by Paul Conway so we are in safe and inspiring hands although at five pages they are shorter than some of Toccatas extended essays. As for the piano sound it is warmly captured yet with impact rather than hazy distance.

If your taste runs to Rachmaninov and then to Medtner — or possibly the other way around — here is a composer and a series you owe it to yourself to pursue. Alexandrov, Kyung-Ah Noh and Toccata - none of them will disappoint. Makes we want to track down a copy of Vol. 1 before Vol. 3 appears.

Rob Barnett