Christoph Deluze

Kabalevsky: Préludes

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AllMusic Review by

Christoph Deluze, who is making a name for himself as an interpreter of Russian piano music, turns his attention to that of the frequently neglected Dmitry Kabalevsky. Even before Kabalevsky's death, his reputation rested on his didactic works and his career as a teacher. He wrote several concert and stage works, plus film music, most of which were successful to some degree, but these have never reached the same level of popularity as works by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, even inside Russia. A partial explanation for the lack of interest in his music is that it is less harmonically and stylistically adventurous than that of his more famous contemporaries. But that does not mean his music is not harmonically interesting, as these Preludes demonstrate. The set of 24 Preludes, Op. 38, is based on folk songs taken from a collection edited by Rimsky-Korsakov, so most have a song-like melody and an uncomplicated sound to them even though they are not technically unsophisticated. Once and a while, as in Nos. 13, 14, and 20, melodies that were also used by other composers are heard, and sometimes the way they or other figures (No. 3 and No. 10) are used is reminiscent of snatches of Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. However, the frequent interplay of major and minor or of differing keys is a hallmark of Kabalevsky. Deluze finds large amounts of personality in each prelude, making them like character pieces or narratives with a bit of technical exercise thrown in. The way he brings out distinct humors in each one makes them stand out more than they do just for Kabalevsky's playful, wavering tonalities. The final prelude is a contrast between a suspenseful martial scene and more innocent, relieved aftermath. The Four Preludes, Op. 5, are more freeform in sound, but are also given picturesque treatment by Deluze. He also plays them in an order that progresses from lightest to most substantial, although they are all relatively graceful and humble in their compact dimensions. Deluze does a lot for this music, giving it vitality and some much needed attention.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Preludes (24) for piano, Op. 38
1
1:16
2
0:48
3
1:36
4
1:59
5
2:09
6
1:16
7
1:38
8
1:55
9
1:22
10
2:36
11
0:58
12
3:19
13
2:09
14
2:17
15
0:47
16
1:45
17
1:48
18
1:34
19
0:54
20
2:28
21
1:59
22
1:50
23
1:55
24
3:47
Preludes (4) for piano, Op. 5
25
0:47
26
1:20
27
1:14
28
3:06
blue highlight denotes track pick