Olga Solovieva

Lyadov: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 1

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Russian composer Anatol Lyadov (or Liadov), contemporary with and much admired by the members of the Mighty Handful, composed both more rarely (he was busy teaching at the St. Petersburg Conservatory for much of his career) and in smaller forms than his contemporaries, and he has therefore been unjustly neglected. Russian pianist Olga Solovieva here embarks on a complete recording of Lyadov's piano music, and the results are well worth the listener's time, for those interested in either a single disc or the entire series. This release covers the first part of Lyadov's career, through the Trois Morceaux, Op. 11, of 1885. Up to that point, Lyadov was almost untouched by the nationalist impulse, and even in those three pieces Russian characteristics are a tinge rather than an impetus to structural rethinking. These pieces are miniatures, bagatelles, somewhat in the Schumann mode but with a compression that's all Lyadov's own. Most interesting are the Biryulki, Op. 2, composed in 1876 just as Lyadov was being expelled from the conservatory himself for poor attendance. Biryulki are "pick-up sticks": the title is delightful, and so are these little pieces, all around one minute in length. They're lovely examples of the miniaturist's art, with tiny little expositions of material that poses some musical problem and then elegantly solves it. Several of the pieces have the briefest of slow introductions (the Tempo di valse track 11, for example, or the fourth of the Four Arabesques, Op. 4 (track 24). The pieces from the other sets have a similar appeal; all are short, and they fall mostly into sections that are as concise as the Biryulki. Several of the Six Morceaux, Op. 3, use fugal counterpoint in a richly lighthearted way. The two sets of Intermezzi have thicker chordal textures (perhaps an influence from Brahms' similarly titled pieces), but mostly the mood is evancescent. Thoroughly pleasing, with precise yet never academic performances from Solovieva and unfussy engineering, in Moscow, from Britain's Toccata Classics. Booklet notes are in English only. Strongly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Biryulki, Op. 2
1 0:51
2 0:27
3 0:57
4 1:08
5 0:46
6 0:33
7 0:50
8 0:56
9 1:12
10 0:52
11 0:56
12 0:39
13 0:27
14 1:15
Six Morceaux, Op. 3
15 1:19
16 2:08
17 2:23
18 2:25
19 2:05
20 1:14
Arabesques, Op. 4
21 1:26
22 3:46
23 1:58
24 3:09
25 2:55
26 1:26
Deux Intermezzi, Op. 7
27 2:38
28 2:06
Deux Intermezzi, Op. 8
29 2:01
30 2:49
Deux Morceaux, Op. 9
31 1:29
32 2:27
Trois Morceaux, Op. 10
33 1:31
34 1:46
35 2:14
Trois Morceaux, Op. 11
36 2:46
37 2:02
38 2:29
blue highlight denotes track pick