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Russia: Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky & Rachmaninoff Works for Piano



Modest Mussorgsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff each had very different attitudes towards piano performance and composition. Mussorgsky studied the instrument under Anton Gerke’s tutelage but established himself principally as a composer, one of ‘The Five’ who strove to achieve a uniquely Russian identity in their music. Tchaikovsky was not a pianist of any remarkable attainment. However, in addition to his three piano concertos, he contributed to the instrument’s repertory two sonatas and over one hundred miniatures, most of them grouped in various collections. He was also an early influence on Rachmaninoff, who became renowned as a conductor and pianist, no less than as a composer, and eventually enjoyed an international reputation and popularity in all three arenas. Robin Stowell

Russian pianist, Ilya Yakushev, with many awards and honors to his credit, continues to astound and mesmerize audiences at major venues on three continents. His three-concert series at the San Francisco Symphony’s Prokofiev Festival under Michael Tilson-Thomas was named one of the “Top 10 Classical Music Events of 2007” by the San Francisco Chronicle.Mr. Yakushev attended the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in his native St. Petersburg, Russia, and subsequently came to New York City to attend Mannes College of Music where he studied with Dr. Arkady Aronov and later with legendary pianist Vladimir Feltsman.

Russia: Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky & Rachmaninoff Works for Piano


"Anyone who had the pleasure of hearing Yakushev's CD of Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas (NI 6267) will be keen to hear this recording; they will not be disappointed. The Tchaikovsky "Duma in C minor Op. 59" provides opportunities to flow from the languid opening to the vigorous country dance rhythms, demonstrating exquisite phrasing.. The popular "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Mussorgsky is very well presented in a most satisfying manner. While all the works on this disc are pleasant to hear, the outstanding appreciation must be reserved for the performance of the Rachmaninoff "Variations on a Theme of Corelli Op. 42" since these 20 variatiions enable any listener to fully appreciate the masterly technique of this pianist. Sufficient to say that there is a marked distinction made between the movements marked "Allegro ma non tanto - Variation 5", "Allegro Scherzando - Variation10", "Allegro vivace - Variation 11" and "Allegro con brio - Variation 18" all of which might have appeared to be very nearly identical under the hands of a less accomplished virtuoso. To play these tracks successively is a salutary experience in what it is possible to purvey in shades of pace and rhythm on this expressive instrument.. It has been said that John McCormack could read the telephone directory and make it sound musical; it seems possible that Yakushev could be responsible for a similar evaluation as a pianist. Surely the most outstanding purveyor of Russian music (at least) today.. You must hear this one! The accompanying booklet is most informative both about the composers, in this context, and the pieces played."- Jack L. Honigman