Leonid Sabaneyev: Piano Music

Catalogue No: TOCC0308
EAN/UPC: 5060113443083
Release Date: 2015-12-04
Composer: Leonid Sabaneyev
Artists: Jonathan Powell

For most of the past century the Russian composer Leonid Sabaneyev (1881–1968) was known principally as a writer, not least for his publications on his close friend Alexander Skryabin (he was also a scientist and mathematician). It is only now that his own music is being rediscovered. This first recording of his monumental Piano Sonata, ‘In Memory of Skryabin’, cast in a single movement half an hour in length, is prefaced by a number of characteristic miniatures.

Jonathan Powell, piano
First recordings

Listen To This Recording:

  1. Quatre preludes, Op. 1: No. 1 in E minor
  2. Quatre preludes, Op. 2: No. 1 in A minor
  3. Quatre preludes, Op. 2: No. 4 in C major
  4. Deux preludes, Op. 3: No. 2 in C sharp minor
  5. Deux morceaux, Op. 5: No. 2 Prelude in G minor
  6. Two Compositions, Op. 6: No. 1 Poeme in G sharp minor
  7. Two Compositions, Op. 7: No. 2 Feuillet d’album in G minor
  8. Quatre morceaux, Op. 9: No. 1 Feuillet d’album in B minor
  9. Deux morceaux, Op. 8: No. 2 Prelude in E minor
  10. Quatre morceaux, Op. 9: No. 4 Prelude in E minor
  11. Huit preludes, Op. 10: No. 2 in B minor
  12. Huit preludes, Op. 10: No. 5 in E major
  13. Huit preludes, Op. 10: No. 6 in E major
  14. Huit preludes, Op. 10: No. 8 in E minor
  15. Sonata, Op. 15, ‘In Memory of Skryabin’: Commodo –
  16. Sonata, Op. 15, ‘In Memory of Skryabin’: Misterioso –
  17. Sonata, Op. 15, ‘In Memory of Skryabin’: Risoluto

3 reviews for Leonid Sabaneyev: Piano Music

  1. :

    ‘All the music on this recording was composed between 1902 and 1915, and all are miniatures, except the prodigious Sonata, Op 15 In Memory of Scriabin, a huge half-hour-plus work written shortly after Scriabin’s death in the same year (1915). The short essays are a mixed bag of the late Romantic era and the emerging modern dissonant styles appearing at the dawn of the twentieth century, but the Sonata is in a class of its own. … For all its similarities to Scriabin, this Sonata is often described as original and highly significant, and is regarded as one of the major works in the piano genre of the time. This CD is a triumph for Jonathan Powell, who not only performs this rare repertoire with compelling dedication and zest, but also regales with an essay of the utmost brilliance, brimming with historic and musical details of inestimable value. A mightily impressive issue by any standard that rewards being listened to in a single session. I am eagerly looking forward to Volume 2.’

    —Gerald Fenech, Music and Vision

  2. :

    ‘The present disc, which promisingly is labelled “volume 1”, cuts a sampled swathe through Sabaneyev’s prodigious output of short piano pieces. To this harvest it adds a very substantial piano sonata written in memory of his contemporary Scriabin. Everything is richly performed and recorded. […]

    I have high hopes that the implied volume 2 will follow.’

    —Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

  3. :

    ‘From the dramatic opening of his very first published prelude, one can tell that Sabaneyev was both a fierce pianist and a musician with something to say. Jonathan Powell’s no-holds-barred approach to this piece works wonders: Not only does he deliver on the required muscularity, he carefully shapes the subsequent phrases, dousing the music with just the right touch of sensuality. He knows just when to push forward and when to linger to get the most out of phrases, a quality too that helps in the composer’s dreamier Poème, op. 6/1, with its languid opening, its climactic middle section, and its subdued ending. Here Powell’s dynamic control is on full display as he shows off just how well he can distinguish one piano or pianissimo from the other. […] Powell proves to be as fine {in Sonata] as in the smaller works. The numerous technical challenges are tossed off, his exploration of sonorities and touches are as acute as ever, and most importantly, the musical narrative flows naturally. So for those who love Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Medtner, or the less well-known composers Alexandrov, Catoire, Roslavets, Stanchinsky, Feinberg, or the Krein brothers, one will surely want to add this music to one’s collection—especially in such superb performances as Powell offers here. Recorded in exceptionally clear and vivid sound[…] For those who think that Russia produced only a handful of musical giants: Get out there and explore! You’ll be surprised at the hidden treasures that are still out there to uncover.’

    —Scott Noriega, Fanfare Magazine, June 2016

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