ClassicsOnline Home » Piano Recital: Yurigin-Klevke, Vladimir - GUBAIDULINA, S. / PART, A. / SHOSTAKOVICH, D. / SHCHEDRIN, R.K. (20th Century Russian Piano Music)
20th C Russian Piano Music- Pianist /Vladimir Yurigin-Klevke. -Delos
Four Russian Composers and one Estonian are represented on this CD and lucky for these composers; Russian pianists are still the best in the world. Perhaps all pianists in Russia are still threatened with a stretch in the piano gulag—or actually spent years laboring there, doing scales and octaves at mind-numbing speeds. Anyway, only this extreme imaginary, could adequately account for the depth, the technical power, the pathos and musicality in Yurigen Klevke playing.
The first piece, Sofia Gubaidulinas’ Ciaconna shockingly juxtaposes the harmonic world of Hindemith Shostakovich, Messiaen, Bartok, Schoenberg and Rachmaninoff, all within a few measures. The melodies have a Slavic nature, while the counterpoint has many correspondences with the world of Bartok. Despite the recognizable influences, the music is strikingly original, with never a dull moment—moving quickly from huge majestic chords, long fugal passages, quiet contemplative moments and more lyrical Slavic passages. The piano writing is extremely difficult, but the pianist is more than up to the task. His playing is a superhuman ‘smoke coming from inside the piano’ display. He is so steeped in the Russian Tradition you’d think the spirits of Horowitz and Mussorgsky had entwined and come back from the dead. The piano was for sure, guaranteed, made into firewood after this recording.
The next piece is Avro Parts’ Partita, which consists of long contrapuntal passages at breakneck speed in his 12 tone, pre-minimalist style. It’s very dramatic and very much in the Prokofiev/Shostakovich gestural tradition. Through the back door of Russian Neo-classicism, he ably taps into the 18th Century mother lode, J.S. Bach.
In many ways the next piece by Shostakovich, 24 preludes Op. 34, is not entirely representative of his style. It is drier, more academic than the previous composers on the disc. The pianist plays only wight of the preludes, which are often harmonically conservative, yet extremely pianistic in colorings and flourishes.
The worlds of Chopin/Scriabin/Prokofiev often intrude with ‘um pah pah’ left hand accompaniments and ornate melodies in the right hand. But to be fair he also anticipates an Avro Part-like simplicity in the sincerity and nakedness of the slower music. This is sometimes contrasted with a ‘scrambled eggs' post-modernism clearly that is a precursor to Schnittke. There is a deep melancholy and sadness that runs throughout all the preludes.
The next work is Shchedrin 24 preludes and fugues and sadly, the pianist only plays two of the preludes and fugues. This music is one of the surprises of the CD–it is a haunting style that has a resonating aura not unlike the music of Messiaen. Many octave transpositions give it an outer worldly abstractionism. Again there are many J.S. Bach allusions but only in the rhythms—the pitches are maddeningly somewhere between atonality, Russian modality, and tonality. Again the pianist sets the piano on fire with absolutely amazing contrapuntal playing. You must listen!<more....