Saturday, May 6, 2017

Frédéric Chopin; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Franz Liszt - Piano Works (Yulianna Avdeeva)


Composer: Frédéric Chopin; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Franz Liszt
  1. Chopin - Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49
  2. Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 6 in D major, K. 284: I. Allegro
  3. Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 6 in D major, K. 284: II. Rondeau en Polonaise. Andante
  4. Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 6 in D major, K. 284: III. Tema con variazione
  5. Liszt - Après une lecture du Dante. Fantasia quasi sonata
  6. Liszt - Aida di Giuseppe Verdi. Danza sacra e duetto finale, S. 436

Yulianna Avdeeva, piano
Date: 2016
Label: Mirare



Yulianna Avdeeva’s first prize in the 2010 Chopin Competition was not without controversy. Hearing her play Shostakovich last year in Vienna, I did myself wonder whether those who queried her success perhaps had a point, because whatever her undoubted technical finish and musical aptitude, big international careers depend (sometimes excessively, I admit) on sheer size of musical personality and communicative warmth, which are not – or not yet – Avdeeva’s strong points. Probably we will have to wait a little longer before she succeeds in fully defining her musical personality; at the moment there is still a slight residual impression of a player formed by excellent teaching, rather than one who can throw caution to the wind and let the music play through her.

There are many pluses in this. Avdeeva’s Chopin Fantaisie is polished, scrupulously blended in tone and intelligent in its articulation: playing of considerable poise and taste, which certainly never uses the music as the vehicle for an inflated ego. If she takes time in places, it is always in the interests of those musical values, not in order to indulge or impress.

Her Mozart is strongly projected, full-sized hall playing, unimpeachable in its combination of clarity, energy and elegance. For sheer eloquence and wit, however, my thoughts turn in the direction of Christian Blackshaw – fresh in my mind since I recently reviewed the last in his Wigmore Hall series (1/16). With Avdeeva there is the sense of a precious musical object being held just a little too tightly for comfort.

Her declared ambition is to showcase Liszt as ‘a philosophical thinker, a humanist’. One might therefore question whether the Dante Sonata is the best choice for such a project. Even so, there is no denying that she shows how the piece can benefit from careful shaping and phrasing. Anyone hoping for a barnstorming showstopper of a performance had better look elsewhere, but Avdeeva’s technical aplomb is still highly impressive and there are far worse recordings out there by far ‘bigger’ artists.

Recording quality is satisfyingly warm and realistic, and the interview format of the booklet is forgivable for a debut album *.

-- David FanningGramophone

* The reviewer has his fact wrong here. This is not Avdeeva's debut album.

More reviews:


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.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood and composed from the age of five. Till his death in Vienna, he composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. Mozart is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence is profound on subsequent Western art music.


Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a prolific 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger, organist, philanthropist, author, nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary. Liszt gained renown in Europe for his virtuosic skill as a pianist and in the 1840s he was considered to be the greatest pianist of all time. As a composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent composers of the "New German School". Some of his most notable musical contributions were the invention of the symphonic poem, developing the concept of thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form, and making radical departures in harmony.


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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