ARENSKY, ANTON Piano Music. Stephen Coombs. Helios

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Arensky Anton Piano Music Stephen Coombs Helios

ANTON ARENSKY (1861–1906)

Piano Music

Six Caprices Op 43

1 Moderato in A minor

2 Vivace in A major

3 Andante sostenuto in C major

4 Allegro in G major

5 Andante in D major [2'27] 6

Allegro moderato in B major

Six Pièces Op 53

7 Prélude Largo

8 Scherzo Allegro

9 Élégie Allegro non troppo

10 Mazurka Tempo di mazurka

11 Romance Andante

12 Étude Allegro

from 24 Characteristic Pieces Op 36

13 No 3: Nocturne Andante sostenuto

14 No 15: Le ruisseau dans la forêt Allegro moderato

15 No 20: Mazurka Allegro moderato

16 No 16: Élégie Adagio non troppo

17 No 13: Étude Moderato

from Près de la mer ‘Six Esquisses’ Op 52

18 No 4: Allegro moderato in G flat major

19 No 5: Allegro scherzando in E flat minor

Quatre Morceaux Op 25

20 Impromptu Andante sostenuto

21 Rêverie Andantino

22 Étude ‘on a Chinese theme’ Presto

23 Scherzino Allegro molto

Quatre Études Op 41

24 Allegro molto in E flat major

25 Allegro vivace in F sharp major

26 Allegro in E flat minor

27 Allegro molto in A minor

Stephen Coombs, piano

Stephen Coombs’s ‘Russian Piano Portraits’ series turns its attention to solo piano music by Anton Arensky, one of the more shadowy figures of the Russian pianistic pantheon. Bon viveur extraordinaire, Arensky lived life in Moscow to the full - and to the disgust of colleagues such as Rimsky-Korsakov—but he was also an important teacher whose pupils included Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Glière and Grechaninov. Indeed, it was Arensky, together with Taneyev (successor to Rubinstein as director of the Moscow Conservatory), who shaped a situation in 1880s Moscow which finally allowed the city to rival St Petersburg in terms of its musical culture.

Arensky’s piano pieces have an easy charm and lyrical breadth of melodic invention. They also show rare inventiveness. There is a quality that is both nostalgic and surprising, reassuringly familiar yet unconventional in harmonic and melodic construction. This music has the power to move the emotions, not perhaps in a dramatic or passionate way, but by its rather personal reflective quality.

Helios CDH55311

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