VALERY ARZUMANOV (b.1944): 14 pieces from 27 Light Pieces for Piano, Op. 74, LEONID DESYATNIKOV (b.1955): Echoes of Theatre, VLADIMIR RYABOV (b.1950): 10 Russian songs arranged for piano from Opp. 73 & 74.

Catalogue Number: 01R062

Label: Melodiya

Reference: MEL CD 10 02409

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: This immensely attractive recital of piano miniatures showcases one direction that Soviet post-modernism took in the 1980s; a thoroughly tonal, largely un-ironic type of 'new simplicity', intended to charm, entertain and delight the listener rather than to challenge or examine profound ideas at length or in emotional depth. Arzumanov's pieces are within the grasp of advanced students, and are reminiscent in style of Shostakovich's pedagogical pieces. They include parodies of popular idioms - waltzes and the like - little sentimental songlike numbers and witty character pieces. Desyatnikov arranged his pieces from music that he had written for puppet theatre. They perfectly encapsulate the relationship that puppet shows bear to full-scale theatre; miniature scale, wit, artifice, craftsmanship, an element of parody and pastiche. Ryabov's pieces are transcriptions of traditional Russian folksongs, with each successive verse of each song presented in different, more 'pianistic' figuration, forming a set of miniature themes-and-variations. The wealth of gorgeous melodic material inherent in the original songs ensures that the music covers a wide range of expression, from wistful, gentle melancholy to extrovert exuberance. Several of the longer numbers have time to stray into some unexpected and original - harmonically inventive and technically exhilarating - territory. Lukas Geniušas (piano).

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