Nikolai Peyko: Complete Piano Music, Volume Two

The Russian composer Nikolai Peyko (1916-95) studied with Myaskovsky at the Moscow Conservatoire, where he later became Shostakovich's teaching assistant and then an important teacher in his own right. Peyko's piano music shares Shostakovich's fondness for irony and Prokofiev's for driving march-rhythms and playful good humour. Each of the two CDs in this complete recording of his piano music ends with one of Peyko's two works for two pianos, in this instance the wildly exciting Concert Variations — the first time that any of this music has been heard in its entirety.

Dmitry Korostelyov, piano; Maria Dzhemesiuk, second piano;

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Catalogue No: TOCC0105
EAN/UPC: 5060113441058
Release Date: 06.04.2015
Composer: Nikolai Peyko
Artists: Dmitry Korostelyov, Maria Dzhemesiuk

Listen To This Recording:

  1. Concert Etude
  2. Sonatina No. 1 in D major: I Allegro con spirito
  3. Sonatina No. 1 in D major: II Larghetto
  4. Sonatina No. 1 in D major: III Finale. Allegro
  5. Sonatina-Skazka in D minor
  6. Piano Sonata No. 3: I Toccata. Allegro molto
  7. Piano Sonata No. 3: II Intrada and Aria. Lamento. Andante
  8. Piano Sonata No. 3: III Scherzo
  9. Piano Sonata No. 3: IV Prelude and Fugue. Adagio
  10. Sonata for the Left Hand: I Allegro
  11. Sonata for the Left Hand: II Adagio
  12. Sonata for the Left Hand: III Moderato
  13. Sonata for the Left Hand: IV Sostenuto
  14. Concert Variations for two pianos

2 reviews for Nikolai Peyko: Complete Piano Music, Volume Two

  1. :

    … This is exactly the sort of disc one hopes to encounter in a review pile: stimulating music that is of real historical as well as musical interest, well recorded and splendidly played. … The notes also achieve something invaluable: They inspire the listener to explore further, and to wish for further recordings (in the present writer’s case, Peyko’s First Symphony, the subject of much praise from Myaskovsky). …
    The Concert Étude (dated as 1940 on the CD back cover but 1942 in the notes), intended as a “winter sketch,” is glorious in its sense of Russian poetry. Korostelyov, a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, seems the ideal interpreter. His staccato touch, his lightness, and his way of phrasing music that clearly makes reference to the indigenous music of its territory, all speak of someone on home turf. His virtuosity, too, is beyond question. … The 1942 Sonatina No. 1 does indeed make reference to folk music (here Bashkir), particularly in the highly embellished melodic surface. Textures are often magical, and it is testament to Korostelyov’s nuances of tone that the music speaks so truthfully. Moreover, Korostelyov can convey the atemporal innocence of the thematic material while at the same time projecting the ongoing structure that Peyko encases it in.
    … The brief (five-minute) Sonatina-Skazka of 1943 is apparently one of Peyko’s most popular compositions in Russia. It is quite a complex work, encasing an improvisatory feel, certainly at times rather veiled of expression, within a sonata structure. The sense of melancholy in the melody in the “baritone” range around two minutes in could only be from this region. Perhaps, though, it is the Third Piano Sonata (1990) that is the most impressive piece here. Although only a few seconds longer than the Sonatina, it speaks on a far grander canvas, the first-movement toccata (in sonata form) a wonderful whirlwind of motoric expression. … Sonata for the Left Hand of 1992 is a real addition to the left-hand only repertoire, jewel-like in its concision. …
    Finally, the Concert Variations for two pianos of 1983, for which Korostelyov is joined by Maria Dzhemesiuk. The angular gait of the first part of the theme is instantly memorable. Straightaway, the energy of the motoric first variation speaks of the sheer intensity of inspiration here. It is as if the music is flowing unstoppably from the composer, and both pianists. The shadow of Prokofiev hovers over some of the score, but there is an undeniable Russian voice here that is Peyko’s own.
    This is a major, major release and one that, one hopes, will open the doors to many more recordings of this composer’s non-piano works. Were that to be the case, and on the present evidence, delights aplenty would be in store. —Fanfare Magazine, September 2015

  2. :

    ‘The 1940 Concert Etude is a ruthless display piece in the manner of Prokofiev but has some of the same exotic Eastern spirit found in the Ballada from the year before. The three-movement Sonatina No. 1 from two years later is a feel-good piece with jollity pitted against romance. … The subtle little Sonatina-Skazka from 1943 is a feathery hailstorm of notes that slows and drifts into romantic realms. We then jump forward to 1988 for the four-movement Piano Sonata No. 3. … The finale is seriously eloquent. There is some extremely telling music in this Sonata… The Left Hand Sonata of 1992 had its origins in the fact that Peyko suffered many strokes in later life such that only his left side was functioning. Its four movements are nicely contrasted. By now the style and substance is familiar and is sustained throughout this very late work: touching, fantastic and romantic though never slushy. The disc ends, as does CD 1, with a 1980s work for two pianos: The Concert Variations. These span less than ten minutes – a theme and eleven highly inventive variations. For all their resourceful exploitation this work does not feel contrived and can be enjoyed without dwelling on the minutiae of Peyko’s alchemical transformations. The liner-notes are by Yuri Abdokov. Aside from offering ideally full information about Peyko, each piece is profiled. … The performances on these two discs [vol. 1 and vol. 2] appear confident and feel convincing – indeed masterly. The engineers have secured full spectrum sound within which Peyko’s extremes of violence, harshness and tenderness are happily accommodated. Those curious about Soviet music of these unstable years and who wonder what there is beyond Shostakovich and Prokofiev but before Gubaidulina and Schnittke should seek out these two rewarding discs [vol. 1 and vol. 2].’ –Music Web International, June 2016

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