Nikolai Lugansky – Tchaikovsky: Grand Sonata & The Seasons (2017) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Nikolai Lugansky – Tchaikovsky: Grand Sonata & The Seasons (2017) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz  | Time – 01:21:38 minutes | 1,94 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © naïve classique

Though less well-known than his operas, his symphonies and concertos, Tchaikovsky’s piano music nonetheless contains at least essential works of his, i.e. the cycle The Seasons Op. 37b, and the Grand Sonata Op. 37. Composed at a period of crisis in the composer’s personal life, they illustrate two quite different aspects of his style: on the one hand we have the fashionable worldliness of The Seasons, pieces that almost belong to the genre of salon music; on the other hand, we see him ambitiously grappling with the large format of the classical sonata, in the tradition of his illustrious predecessors. Composed between December 1875 and May 1876, the cycle of The Seasons was written like some kind of musical calendar for the year 1876, to a commission by the publisher of the monthly review Le Nouvelliste, the idea being to issue a piano piece every month. Composed in 1878 when the classical sonata – which composers deemed to be too restrictive – was largely abandoned in favour of free-form pieces, Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata in G major upheld the ancient four-movement structure. The pianistic writing of the Grand Sonata conveys a sense of forceful power that seems to go beyond the tonal dimensions of the piano and conjure up the multiple sound resources of a symphony orchestra, as might be expected from someone of the composer’s power. In a letter to his younger brother, Tchaikovsky complained about the difficulties he faced in writing his sonata: “I’m working on a sonata for piano… [and its composition] does not come easily. I worked unsuccessfully, with little progress. I’m again having to force myself to work, without much enthusiasm. I can’t understand why it should be the case that, in spite of so many favourable circumstances, I’m not in the mood for work. I’m having to squeeze out of myself weak and feeble ideas, and ruminate over each bar. But I keep at it, and hope that inspiration will suddenly strike.” Tchaikovsky isn’t particularly a piano composer; and the only recording of him that Nikolai Lugansky had made up till now was of the First Piano Concerto; even though the pianist had played several of his works for the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1994. He has been described by Gramophone as ‘the most trailblazing and meteoric performer of all’ for his extraordinary depth and versatility.


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Grand Sonata in G Major, Op. 37, TH 139
1 I. Moderato e risoluto 14:55
2 II. Andante non troppo quasi moderato 10:14
3 III. Scherzo. Allegro giocoso 03:02
4 IV. Finale. Allegro vivace 06:59

The Seasons, Op. 37a, TH 135
5 No. 1 in A Major, January. By the Hearth 05:53
6 No. 2 in D Major, February. The Carnival 02:56
7 No. 3 in G Minor, March. Song of the Lark 02:36
8 No. 4 in B-Flat Major, April. Snowdrop 02:52
9 No. 5 in G Major, May. White Nights 04:56
10 No. 6 in G Minor, June. Barcarolle 04:59
11 No. 7 in E-Flat Major, July. Reaper’s Song 01:51
12 No. 8 in B Minor, August. The Harvest 03:39
13 No. 9 in G Major, September. The Hunt 02:52
14 No. 10 in D Minor, October. Autumn Song 05:36
15 No. 11 in E Major, November. On the Troika 03:19
16 No. 12 in A-Flat Major, December. Christmas 04:47

Nicolai Lugansky, piano



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