Leo Ornstein: Piano Music, Volume Three

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Catalogue No: TOCC0178
EAN/UPC: 5060113441782
Release Date: 2023-11-03
Composer: Leo Ornstein
Artists: Viktor Valkov

Leo Ornstein is as well known for his extraordinary longevity as for his music: he was born in Ukraine in 1893 and died in Wisconsin in 2002, aged at least 108. His generous output of music, much of it for the piano, his own instrument, remains poorly known, although it can stand shoulder to shoulder with that of many better-known names. Some of the pieces here – which cover a span of over 60 years – have their roots in Debussy, Skryabin and Szymanowski, but Ornstein welds those influences into an edgy, energetic language very much his own. The Three Moods of c. 1914 are anger, grief and joy, but there is strength of feeling in all the music to be heard here. Indeed, the Nine Vignettes bear a misleading title: they are substantial and powerful virtuoso essays which can flare up into moments of startling power and violence; hitherto unknown, they constitute a major contribution to the piano literature.

Viktor Valkov, piano

Listen To This Recording:

Nine Vignettes, s380 (1977) (34:39)

  1. No. 1 Moderato (4:49)
  2. No. 2 Con Moto (3:08)
  3. No. 3 Moderato (3:21)
  4. No. 4 Animato (4:26)
  5. No. 5 Moderato (2:09)
  6. No. 6 Allegro (3:30)
  7. No. 7 Animato (4:15)
  8. No. 8 Moderato (3:15)
  9. No. 9 Moderato con moto (5:46)

  1. Bagatelle, s100 (1952) (1:30)
  2. A Moment of Retrospect, s156 (?1950s) (4:45)
  3. The Cathedral, s73 (1916) (2:50)
  4. Nocturne, No. 1, s153 (c. 1922) (8:47)

Three Moods, s5 (c. 1914)* (11:13)

  1. No. 1 Anger: Agitato (2:38)
  2. No. 2 Grief (5:32)
  3. No. 3 Joy: Presto (3:03)

All Except * First Recordings
*First Digital Recording

1 review for Leo Ornstein: Piano Music, Volume Three

  1. :

    ‘ The pieces are varied and quite pleasant […]

    The young Bulgarian, Viktor Valkov, plays everything quite excellently, as did his predecessor. Probably in his early 30s, he currently teaches the University of Utah. The recorded sound is also first rate.’

    —Bruno Repp, American Record Guide, February 2024

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