The Roaring Twenties roared in Russia as well as in Europe and America, to an extent generally unsuspected in the west. This CD reveals for the first time the light music of a minor master of the day, Matvey Nikolaevsky (1882–1942), whose songs and dances were hits in the early years of the Soviet Union. His style evolved effortlessly from the salon music of the late nineteenth century to the foxtrots, Charlestons and tangos popular during the relatively liberal New Economic Policy introduced by Lenin in 1921 and which Soviet audiences continued to enjoy after the NEP was abolished by Stalin in 1928.
Svetlana Zlobina, mezzo-soprano; Mikhail Mordinov, piano; Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Philipp Chizhevsky, conductor;
Catalogue No: TOCC0324EAN/UPC: 5060113443243Release Date: 02.10.2015Composer: Matvey Nikolaevsky Artists: Mikhail Mordinov, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Philipp Chizhevsky, Svetlana Zlobina
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Henry Fogel :
“What a delightful surprise! … The Nocturne recalls Chopin, and the Fantasia (which is on a Russian folksong) sounds like the kind of transcription you might hear from Liszt, Thalberg, or Schulz-Evler. Both works are excellent examples of their genres, and show genuine melodic invention and compositional skill. But Nikolaevsky focused on the lighter side of music—writing music for dance bands, folk-style songs, romances, some filled with the darkness we associate with Russian music. But many of the pieces are joyous from beginning to end, clearly the product of a composer who knew his comfort zone. The titles, particularly of the solo piano works, tell you all that you need to know about the music. The lion’s share of the work on this disc falls to pianist Mordvinov, and he is splendid. He plays with great spirit and lightness of touch, but can also convey the dark underside of those pieces where it is present. … The two orchestral pieces are also performed with great vigor and spirit. Do not confuse “light” with “easy.” Nikolaevsky was, apparently, a virtuoso pianist and some of this music is quite difficult. The songs are sung with great feeling and understanding by Zlobina … for those who enjoy an occasional venture on the lighter side of music this is definitely worth seeking out.” —Fanfare Magazine, March/April 2016
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