LŪCIJA GARŪTA (1902-1977): Piano Concerto, Solo Piano: 4 Preludes, Meditation, Variations on the Latvian Folksong “The Soldiers are Sorrowful”, The Little Doll’s Lulling Song.

Catalogue Number: 05T001

Label: LMIC/Skani

Reference: LMC/Skani 056

Format: CD

Price: $14.98

Description: In mid-March a customer alerted us to a Gramophone review of this in their February issue and, six weeks later, here it is! Jeremy Nicholas’s review tells it better than we can so here are some excerpts: “She was clearly a considerable pianistic talent, studying with Cortot and Isidor Philipp, while her own composing was much influenced by Dukas, the Impressionists, Scriabin, and the fate of her beloved native Latvia. Garūta’s muse was one of ‘vivid drama and fateful tragedy’. None of which will come as surprise when you hear her Piano Concerto (1951, orchestrated 1955). The first movement sounds as though it has escaped from one of Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concertos with its echoes of the MacDowell D minor and Tchaikovsky B flat minor, the piano often thundering away just audibly below a full-throated brass chorus... Solo works make up the remainder of the disc. Four Preludes composed over two decades earlier owe a debt to (early and mid-period) Scriabin, each rising to an ecstatic climax, all of them impassioned and, once more, very loud. As in the Concerto, Garūta’s compatriot Reinis Zariņš takes no prisoners. I was much taken with the brief (4'39") Meditation that follows – originally written for orchestra – and even more so by the Variations on the Folk Song ‘The Soldiers Are Sorrowful’ (1933), the theme and 10 variations making a meaty and highly contrasted concert piece lasting over 19 minutes. One for insatiably curious pianophiles...” Reinis Zarinš (piano), Liepāja Symphony Orchestra; Atvars Lakstīgala.

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