ClassicsOnline Home » Piano Recital: Baryshevskyi, Antonii - SCARLATTI, D. / RAVEL, M. / DEBUSSY, C. / RACHMANINOV, S. / STRAVINSKY, I. / MATEOS, D.
The Ukrainian-born pianist Antonii Baryshevskyi is a multi-award winner, including First Prize at the Fourth Enescu International Piano Competition in Bucharest in 1999, the Fourth Performer-Composer International Piano Competition in St Petersburg in 2004 and the 51st Premio Jaén International Piano Competition in Spain in 2009. The music chosen for his début Naxos recital features two of the most fiendishly difficult piano works of the twentieth century, Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 2 and the Three Movements from Petrushka by Stravinsky, as well as the specially commissioned competition work, Orión, by the young Spanish composer Daniel Mateos, an exploration of the enigmas of the universe and the constellation Orion.
Antonii Baryshevskyi: Piano Recital
Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in E major, K. 135/L. 225/P. 234 • Sonata in D minor, K. 1/L. 366/P. 57
Maurice Ravel: La Valse
Claude Debussy: Images, Book II
Daniel Mateos: Orión
Sergey Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36
Igor Stravinsky: Three Movements from Petrushka
Domenico Scarlatti composed over six hundred keyboard sonatas: short, structurally concise works, of great expressive and rhythmic intensity. The subtle melodic development of the Sonata in E major, K. 135, is contrasted with a lively rhythmic impulse, while the even shorter Sonata in D minor, K. 1, is an intricate gem of a piece, its trills and ornaments adding to the elegance of its melody.
Described as the apotheosis of the waltz, Maurice Ravel’s La Valse, which began life as an orchestral work, in 1919–20, and which he also adapted for two pianos, is a game of mirrors in which the dance has multiple reflections, gradually taking on different forms and moods and building in grandeur and monumentality until it reaches a paroxysm of Viennese decadence.
Striking a balance between sound and silence, the second set of Claude Debussy’s Images (1906–7), like its predecessor, consists of three pieces: the crystalline Cloches à travers les feuilles (Bells heard through the leaves), with its constant sounding of oriental bells; Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon sinks over the temple that once was), an extension of the previous piece, full of mystery and reflections of the moon; and Poissons d’or (Gold[en] fish), a luminous finale of twists and turns, echoing the flashes of colour of fish darting to and fro in a pool of water.
Commissioned by the Jaén Provincial Council and Spain’s Centre for the Dissemination of Contemporary Music (CDMC) for the 51st Jaén International Piano Competition, Orión, by Daniel Mateos, a young composer from Malaga, delves into the enigmas of the universe and the constellation Orion. The work turns on its own axis, evolving from a tiny particle to lofty heights of splendour. As the emotion-laden finale unfolds, it recalls the closing scene of Blade Runner: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion”.
Sergey Rachmaninov created the definitive version of his Sonata No. 2 in 1931, the original having appeared years earlier, in 1913. The revised version betrays the enormous influence of Chopin, although the turbulence of Russian political life also had a part to play in the composer’s reworking. The sonata is characterized by its sense of power and tension, heightened by stormy passages (Allegro agitato), but also by its languid melodic beauty and incandescent emotion (Non allegro). The finale (Allegro molto) returns to the earlier, dramatic soundworld, bringing to an end a piece of supreme difficulty for the pianist.
Considered by many to be the most technically challenging piano work of the twentieth century, the Three Movements from Petrushka (1921) by Igor Stravinsky are a faithful reflection of the original ballet score, with cascades of arpeggios and continuous changes of metre. The three movements, to be played more or less without a break, bring us dazzling light in Danse russe (Russian Dance), evocative mystery in Chez Petrouchka (Petrushka’s Room) and an explosion of life and colour in La Semaine grasse (The Shrovetide Fair), with an unparalleled display of technical virtuosity.
Gonzalo Pérez Chamorro
English translation: Susannah Howe
The Jaén Prize International Piano Competition
The Jaén Prize was established in 1953. It has its roots in the old and now defunct Club Alpino, a short-lived cultural and sporting society. The prize was set up with relatively modest aims by the pianist Joaquín Reyes Cabrera and the architect Pablo Castillo García-Negrete. The Club actually gave nothing but its name to the prize, because the two prizes given in 1953 and 1954 were donated by a music-lover from Jaén, Pablo Castillo García-Negrete. It was in this year that the promoters of the prize looked for stronger sponsorship, and the result was the active and collaborative presence of the Instituto de Estudios Giennenses. The architect Pablo Castillo, member of the studies Corporation, was named adviser and the name was replaced by that of Premio Jaén de Piano (Jaén Piano Prize). At the beginning the prize was a national one, but in the 1970s it assumed international status, a position it now holds, as Gustav A. Alink, the author of a number of books on international piano competitions, confirms.
The first award of this new prize was given to Jacinto Matute in 1956 and consisted of 5,000 pesetas (30 euros). Gradually this amount has been increased, reaching the sum of 25,000 euros in 2009 for the first prize, 12,000 for the second, 8,000 for the third, 6,000 for the “Rosa Sabater” award, and another 6,000 euros for the Contemporary Music award. Since 1993 the competition has included a mandatory work written by a Spanish composer for this purpose, a composition that is subsidised by the Centro de Difusión de la Música Contemporánea of the Ministry of Culture and which, since 1997, has been published and distributed by the Provincial Assembly. The list of composers who have composed for the Prize, from 1993 to 2010, includes Manuel Castillo, Carlos Cruz de Castro, Antón García Abril, Valentín Ruiz, Ángel Oliver, Zulema de la Cruz, Tomás Marco, José García Román, Xavier Montsalvatge, José Luis Turina, Luis de Pablo, Eneko Vadillo, Leonardo Balada, Josep Soler, Joan Guinjoan, Claudio Prieto, Daniel Mateos and Juan A. Medina.
Over the years various leading figures have served on the competition jury, including Javier Alfonso, who often served as president of the jury. After his death various leading musicians have taken this position, including Guillermo Gonzalez. The present president of the jury is Begoña Uriarte. Among those who have served on the competition jury are Marcelle Heuclín, Nicole Henriot, Salomon Mikowsky, Leslie Wright, Teresa Rutkowska, Valentina Kamenikova, Antonio de Raco, Hans Graf, Jean-Paul Sevilla, Ronald Farren-Price, María Fernanda Wansneider, Yuko Fujimura, Carmen Graf-Adnet, Marta Marchena, Karl-Hermann Mrongovius, Elza Kolodin, Alfred Mouledous, Ralf Nattkemper, Dag Achatz, Yukie Nagai, Rosalyn Tureck, Jean-François Heisser, and Paul Badura-Skoda, among others. Among Spanish jurymembers we may quickly mention Rosa Sabater, Joaquín Soriano, Ramón Coll, Josep Colom, Mario Monreal, Rafael Quero, Joaquín Reyes, Perfecto García Chornet, Pilar Bilbao, Esteban Sánchez, Antonio Baciero, Fernando Puchol, Julián López Gimeno, and Pedro Jiménez Cavallé, for many years secretary of the jury.
Outstanding pianists have won prizes in the competition, including the Spanish pianists Begoña Uriarte, Joaquín Parra, Mario Monreal, Rafael Orozco, Joaquín Soriano, José María Pinzolas, Josep Colom and Javier Perianes. Other winners have been Boaz Sharon, Ewa Osinska, Elza Kolodin, Jean-François Heisser, Boris Bloch, Michiko Tsuda, John Salmon, Hüseyin Sermet, Benedetto Lupo, Martin Zehn, Brenno Ambrosini, Olivier Cazal, Sergei Tarasov, Anna Vinnitskaya, Ilya Rachkovsky and many other important pianists.
Nowadays the competition attracts significant international participation. It includes three eliminating rounds and a final test with orchestra, in 2010 the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. The Jaén Prize competition is held at the Jaén Conservatory and the Infanta Leonor Theatre.
English version: Ángel García Rus & Gonzalo Pérez Chamorro