Olga Solovieva

Taneyev: Violin Sonata; Piano Music

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Although this Naxos album gives top billing to the violin sonata of Sergey Taneyev and to violinist Ivan Peshkov, the disc is really more about Taneyev's brilliant solo piano music writing and the equally dynamic performance given by pianist Olga Solovieva. Taneyev was a virtuoso pianist in his own right, having given the Moscow premiere of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto and all subsequent solo and chamber works using the piano, yet he wrote relatively few solo pieces for his own instrument. The ones he did write are sparkling, underappreciated gems of the repertoire. On this program is a set of five fiery Scherzo, a touching Elegy, a masterfully crafted Theme & Variation set, a virtuosic Prelude and Fugue, and other satisfying shorts. Solovieva brings every bit of the necessary virtuosic technique and musical sophistication needed to elevate Taneyev's works to their deserved status. Her voicing is impeccably clear with a wonderfully minimal use of the pedal, and she plays with power and muscularity that belie her somewhat diminutive stature. The Violin Sonata, which Taneyev subtitled "Of Medium Difficulty," is also of medium interest when juxtaposed against the piano works. All but the first movement end with a soft whimper and Taneyev seems to go so far as to avoid overt virtuosic displays that he ends up having a hard time making a significant impact on its listeners. Still, Solovieva's brilliant performance of the rare solo piano works makes this album well worthwhile.

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