Konstantin Romanovich Eiges (1875–1950), a member of a gifted Jewish family from eastern Ukraine, studied both in medicine and music in Moscow, but soon became known as an outstanding composer and pianist. His music bears the impress of Taneyev, his teacher, and of Skryabin and has points in common with his friends Medtner and Rachmaninov, but this first recording of his piano music reveals a figure who deserves to be remembered in his own right.
Jonathan Powell, piano
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Catalogue No: TOCC0215EAN/UPC: 5060113442154Release Date: 01.06.2015Composer: Konstantin Eiges Artists: Jonathan Powell
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Rob Barnett :
The Ukraine-born composer Konstantin Romanovich Eiges belongs in the Medtner/Rachmaninov generation. His music is Russian, imperious, grand and late-romantic. It’s more Tsarist than Communist. … Unlike Mossolov and Roslavets he was no modernist. Also he does not appear to have dabbled in dissonance or the Second Viennese school. The traditions of his contemporaries Scriabin, Rachmaninov and especially Medtner provided him with all the intellectual and emotional sustenance he craved. …
Eiges is well worth exploring… This is music that is aristocratic, confident and steeped in romantic endeavour and sentiment. It’s also kindly in a way I sense but cannot define. Listen to the swirlingly big-hearted and richly endowed Sonata-Poems. … Paradoxically, only in the latest of these works do we encounter echoes of Chopin and an earlier tradition, especially that which manifests itself in the early works of Scriabin. …
This Eiges disc is superbly packaged and documented by Toccata. Jonathan Powell satisfies our curiosity about a composer whose music I had not until now ever heard and whose name was unknown to me. Toccata and Powell do these rare and treasurable things so well. —Music Web International, August 2015
Barry Brenesal :
“While Jonathan Powell is an impressive pianist in terms of technique, it is his persuasive command of the various styles Eiges employs—the autumnal Romanticism of Rachmaninoff and Medtner, the complex chromaticism of Scriabin, the Silver Age classicism of Arensky—that I find one of the most impressive aspects of this release. He can sonorously thunder and tease a diminuendo with the best of his competition, but his command of the conservative, Chopin-influenced Theme and Variations is refined, witty, and cleanly articulated. He phrases convincingly, as to the manner born, and as one who spreads this music before us like a collector revealing his favorites to guests. Notable as well is his gift for organization. Neither the Sonata-Poems nor the Two Poems would succeed without a pianist who has thoroughly analyzed this music, and could communicate his analysis as effectively as Powell does, here. … Recommended.” —Fanfare Magazine, November/December 2015
Stephen Estep :
“The influences of Medtner, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and Taneyev—with whom he studied counterpoint—are clear. … a thread of tender melancholy is woven through almost every measure. … Powell plays with a remarkably beautiful tone and complete sensitivity to the music. … this is a very worthwhile and appealing program. Excellent notes in English by our pianist.” —American Record Guide, November 2015
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