Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete Piano Sonatas
Champion performances of Myaskovsky's piano works.
David A. Hollingsworth | Washington, DC USA | 05/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's easy to remember Nikolay Yakovleyvich Myaskovsky (1881-1950) as the composer of twenty-seven symphonies (deemed by some serious critics as the greatest of Soviet symphonists). Such rememberance is however quite one-dimensional, since Myaskovsky wrote effective, soul searching works for the piano & smaller ensembles (for instances, the nine piano sonatas, the thirteen string quartets, the two cello sonatas, and the miscellaneous works likewise for pianoforte). Furthermore, Myaskovsky was the most influential & energetic pedegogue of the Moscow Conservatory of Music since 1921 until his death in 1950, which earned him the nickname "The Musical Conscience of Moscow."
The early piano works display Myaskovsky as a personal, autobiographical, & a complex figure. For example, his optimistic first sonata (1907-1910) shows influnces of Scriabin & even Rachmaninoff & Medtner, whereas his second, third, & fourth sonatas (1912: revised 1948, 1920: revised 1939, & 1927 respectively) are dark, mystic, & pessimistic in mood, no doubt influenced by the unstableness Russia underwent after 1905. The influence of Scriabin is still present in these sonatas. What is remarkable about the second, third & fourth Sonatas is the independence in texture & form: the tempos, rhythms, & textures are changed abruptly. I think that the Fourth sonata was the most daring work of Myaskovsky, with expressionism having virtually little restraints. In that case, it relates to his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 6th symphonies. It's only the 5th & 6th sonatas (1907-1908) where the pastoral feelings & peaceful reflections set in. The Reminiscences of 1927 & Yellowed Leaves of 1928 are sets of characteristic piano pieces, reflective, elegaic, introverted, while impeccably Russian in tone & in spirit.
The turning point of Myaskovsky's career as a composer came after 1932 with his Twelfth symphony "Kolkhoz" (or Collective Farm). It was by that time that Myaskovsky began to evaluate himself & his music & determined that he needed to compose works with objectivity. In other words, Myaskovsky aimed at communicating to the Soviet people & the world and at the same time allow his music to be assessable & understandable for those who wish to relate to what Myaskovsky was communicating. The path Myaskovsky had chosen was not easy, but he remained because of it as a self-critical and a honest musical artist.
The Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth sonatas, for example, are light and transparent as far as texture is concerned. The ideas are of poetry, simplicity, beauty, & nobleness as well as slavic yet cosmopolitan, reminding one of Tchaikovsky's great works for piano such as The Seasons, the Grand Sonata (1865), the fifty Russian Folksongs. The Ninth sonata is particularly narrative & peaceful until the finale offers us excitement & festivity. The Prelude & Rondo-Sonata opus 58 of 1942 exemplify what essences of Myaskovsky had to offer: exhilarating, dance-like, energetic Rondo-Sonata & the grim, highly lyrical & poetically charming Prelude which reminds me of Glazunov's Two Prelude-Improvisations of 1918. The Sonatine of 1942 relates to the composer's last three of his sonatas in terms of maturity & assessiblity. It has a folk-inspired feelings & there's no doubt that The Second World War gave the work the overall mood of pessimism, grim, & heartfelt comtemplation. The piano version of Myaskovsky's Fifth string quartet (Scherzo movement) is exciting, virtuosic, & highly demanding in its entirety & served as a nice filler to this set.
The only weakness in this set is that Murray McLachlan excluded Myaskovsky's other works for pianoforte such as his Whimsies (six sketches for piano), Three Albums of Children's Pieces, Frolics (Parts I through VII), Piano Sonata in B Major in five movements, Piano Sonata in A-Flat major in one-movement, & The Twenty-five fugues (student work of 1907-1908). Otherwise McLachlan performed with passion & upmost conviction & familiarity and Olympia Compact Discs Ltd was correct and wise(!) not to delete these recordings. Should we hope that Olympia would (or could) keep available the McLachlan recordings of the piano works of Kabalevsky, Prokofiev, Vainberg & Alexander Tcherepnin?
Nevertheless, this model set is warmly & highly recommended, and with no apologies."