Saturday, May 6, 2017

Frédéric Chopin; Franz Schubert; Sergei Prokofiev - Piano Works (Yulianna Avdeeva)


Composer: Frédéric Chopin; Franz Schubert; Sergei Prokofiev

  • (01-03) Schubert - Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946
  • (04-06) Prokofiev - Sonate for Piano No. 7, Op. 83
  • (01-24) Chopin - 24 Préludes, Op. 28

Yulianna Avdeeva, piano
Date: 2014
Label: Mirare



Four years after winning the 2010 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw – the first woman to do so since Martha Argerich in 1965 – Yulianna Avdeeva makes her debut solo recording (she has recorded both Chopin concertos on an Erard piano for the Fryderyk Chopin Institute). She begins with Schubert’s Drei Klavierstücke, D946, surely intended to be a third set of four Impromptus had not death intervened; Brahms entitled them Klavierstücke when his edition was published in 1868. Alternatively, one could see them as a three-movement sonata. Whatever your view, from the first bar Avdeeva makes you sit up and take note. Here is an artist who can truly make the piano sing – and to no greater effect than in the A flat minor Trio of No 2. In the opinion of the pianist this is ‘one of the most personal and moving statements in all classical music’. The way she plays this, you might find yourself agreeing.

The second of Prokofiev’s three ‘War Sonatas’ opens with a movement marked Allegro inquieto (‘restless’, ‘nervy’). Avdeeva sacrifices its unsettling character for beauty of tone and exemplary voicing, its spikier passages seeming almost jaunty. The central movement, with its cello-like main theme, is captivating. Where she is less than persuasive is in the finale, among the most electrifying of the genre. Precipitato Prokofiev instructs, implying danger – I think of it as someone fleeing from an implacable foe with its relentless, threatening quaver B flat/crotchet C/quaver B flat motif. Richter, who gave the first performance in 1943, is still supreme (his 1958 recording). Avdeeva gives us Prokofiev-lite, a smooth ride in a fast machine.

Disc 2 has just the 24 Preludes. There is much to commend here, not least Avdeeva’s consistently clear singing quality, a joy to hear and very well captured by Mirare in a natural acoustic. It’s a fine account but in some of the quieter Preludes (eg Nos 4 and 6) her asynchronous melody and accompaniment becomes faintly irritating. In the end others have something more personal to say, not least Cortot (1926) and the forgotten Robert Lortat, whose 1928 recording for Columbia (now on Doremi) deserves to become far better known.

-- Jeremy NicholasGramophone

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Frédéric Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for the solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as one of the leading musicians of his era, whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation". Chopin's music, his status as one of music's earliest superstars, his association (if only indirect) with political insurrection, his love life and his early death have made him a leading symbol of the Romantic era in the public consciousness. His works remain popular, and he has been the subject of numerous films and biographies of varying degrees of historical accuracy.


Franz Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer who was extremely prolific during his short lifetime. His output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical era and early Romantic era and is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century. His music is characterized by pleasing tunes while still has "a great wealth of technical finesse".


Sergei Prokofiev (23 April, 1891–March 5, 1953) was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor. As the creator of acknowledged masterpieces across numerous musical genres, He was one of the major composers of the 20th century. Prokofiev wrote 7 completed operas, 7 symphonies, 8 ballets, 5 piano concertos, 2 violin concertos, a cello concerto, and 9 completed piano sonatas. Many of his works are widely known and heard such as the suite 'Lieutenant Kijé', the ballet 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Peter and the Wolf''. Prokofiev also enjoyed personal and artistic support from a new generation of Russian performers, notably Sviatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovich.


Yulianna Avdeeva (born July 3, 1985 in Moscow) is a Russian concert pianist. She studied at the Gnessin Special School of Music in Moscow, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and International Piano Academy Lake Como. She studied and worked as assistant to Konstantin Scherbakov. She has received outstanding international recognition as the winner of First Prize of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition (Warsaw, 2010), being the fourth woman to do so.


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