Piano music and songs by Tolstoy, Pasternak, Diaghilev
"A highly listenable, enlightening, and well-played program." ClassicsToday.com; "Lera Auerbach ... führt die so gut wie unbekannten Werke mit aller Leidenschaft und Eindringlichkeit vor." Klassik-Heute.de; "These works, caringly dispatched by Ms. Auerbach, offer suggestive glimpses into the varying talents of those Russian greats." New York Times
Apart from being icons of Russian culture, what did Leo Tolstoy and George Balanchine have in common? Or Boris Pasternak and Sergei Diaghilev, for that matter? The answer is music. These four and the other authors, poets and painters represented on this disc were all passionate music lovers, and at some point in their lives they all composed. Some of them (Pasternak and Balanchine, for instance) at one stage studied music at conservatory level, others, being members of the aristocracy (such as Tolstoy and the early 19th century playwright Alexander Griboyedov) received a musical education as children. (Griboyedov at one stage actually took lessons with John Field.) And others again, like Pavel Fedotov, the founder of the realistic school of painting in Russia, were self-taught as musicians. With these different backgrounds in mind, it is only natural that the music they wrote is highly varied – from typical salon miniatures to the Scriabinesque works by Pasternak, via Fedotov’s romances, closer to folk-song than to art song. And who could be a better exponent of this aspect of Russian cultural life than Lera Auerbach? A pianist and composer (her Twenty-Four Preludes for Violin and Piano has been released on BIS-CD-1242) of increasing renown, she is also a respected author who already in 1996, at the age of 23, was named Poet of the Year by the International Pushkin Society. In the songs included in this programme, Lera Auerbach is joined by baritone Chiyuki Urano, who has participated as soloist on a number of BIS recordings with Bach Collegium Japan.