Balakirev: Complete Piano Works

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Composer: Mily Balakirev
Artist: Alexander Paley (piano)

Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) was the founder of the group of Russian composers called ‘The Mighty Handful’. Together with Borodin, Rimsky Korsakov, Cui and Mussorgsky he helped create a distinctive Russian school of music that was not reliant on the influence of the Austro German school.
Studying at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, he won the praise of Glinka, and had an influence on the young Tchaikovsky. He wrote two symphonies, two piano concertos, several symphonic poems and many piano works.
On these 6CDs his entire output for piano can be found. A superb pianist, he produced one of the most taxing works ever written for the instrument, his Oriental Fantasy Islamey. His piano sonata is no less impressive, and the Seven Mazurkas are wonderfully melodic works. There is much to discover on these discs.

Sadly, Balakirev suffered a complete nervous breakdown in 1871, and he withdrew from life, eventually emerging to take up a minor management role on the railways. In 1876 he began to compose again, and in 1883 was appointed as director of the Imperial Chapel. He retired in 1895, and continued composing, but by now considered old fashioned and was forgotten even by his old friends. However, one young composer, Igor Stravinsky had a soft spot for him, and pitied him as he suffered from bouts of depression.

00:00:00 Islamey, Oriental Fantasy
00:08:53 Fantasia, On Themes from Glinka’s A Life For The Tsar
00:22:39 Fantasiestück
00:26:51 Nocturne No. 1 in B-Flat Minor
00:33:39 Nocturne No. 2 in B Minor
00:43:33 Nocturne No. 3 in D Minor
00:50:32 Capriccio
01:01:02 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 5: Andante
01:13:10 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 5: Mazurka
01:17:45 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Op. 5: Andante
01:25:30 Sonatina (Esquisses): Allegro moderato
01:27:38 Sonatina (Esquisses): L’Istesso tempo
01:29:40 Sonatina (Esquisses): Coda-poco a poco piu agitato
01:31:06 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor: Andantino
01:39:52 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor: Mazurka-moderato
01:46:40 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor: Intermezzo-larghetto
01:51:17 Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor: Finale-allegro non troppo ma con fuoco
02:00:44 Transcription: Glinka: Kamarinskaya
02:10:14 Transcription: Glinka: Ne govori
02:15:47 Transcription: Chopin: Romance from Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11
02:26:41 Transcription: Beethoven: Cavatina from String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130
02:32:00 Transcription: Beethoven: Allegretto from String Quartet No.8 in E Minor,Op.59 No.2
02:41:33 Transcription: Zapolsky: Réverie
02:47:53 Transcription: Balakirev: Pustinya
02:50:53 Transcription: Berlioz: Introduction to La Fuite en Egypte
02:57:42 Transcription: Balakirev: Impromptu on the themes of Two Preludes by Chopin
03:03:12 Transcription: Glinka: Jota Aragonesca
03:13:51 Valse di bravura (No. 1) in G Major
03:22:10 Valse mélancholique (No. 2) in F Minor
03:27:22 Valse-Impromptu (No. 3) in D Major
03:32:29 Waltz No. 4 in B-Flat Major (Valse de Concert)
03:39:32 Waltz No. 5 in D-flat Major Waltz No. 6 in F-Sharp Minor
03:46:50 Waltz No. 7 in G-Sharp Minor
03:53:01 Polka
04:00:27 Tarantella
04:03:46 Valse-Caprice No. 1 in A-Flat Major (after A.S. Taneyev)
04:09:31 Valse-Caprice No. 2 in D-Flat Major (after A.S. Taneyev)
04:15:36 Mazurka No. 1 in A-Flat Major (2nd version)
04:22:06 Mazurka No. 2 in C-Sharp Minor (2nd version)
04:26:32 Mazurka No. 3 in B Minor
04:29:32 Mazurka No. 4 in G-Flat Major
04:35:02 Mazurka No. 5 in D Major
04:47:35 Mazurka No. 6 in A-Flat Major
04:53:43 Mazurka No. 7 in E-Flat Minor
05:01:55 Scherzo No. 1 in B Minor
05:09:47 Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor
05:17:48 Scherzo No. 3 in F-Sharp Major
05:23:58 Miscellaneous: Dumka
05:28:30 Miscellaneous: Au jardin
05:32:54 Miscellaneous: Gondollied
05:40:37 Miscellaneous: Berceuse
05:46:55 Miscellaneous: The Lark
05:52:34 Miscellaneous: Spanish Melody
05:56:44 Miscellaneous: Spanish Serenade
06:02:44 Miscellaneous: La fileuse
06:05:53 Miscellaneous: Tyrolienne
06:11:30 Miscellaneous: Chant du pêcheur
06:15:31 Miscellaneous: Humoresque
06:20:00 Miscellaneous: Réverie
06:25:24Miscellaneous: Novelette
06:31:18 Miscellaneous: Toccata

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