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Der Bote: Elegies for Piano
     

Der Bote: Elegies for Piano

by Alexei Lubimov
 
No old warhorses here. For this unusual and eminently enjoyable album, pianist Alexei Lubimov has assembled what seems to be a highly personal collection of miniatures by several well-known composers, none of which smacks of standard repertoire. The ten pieces are reflective and elegiac in mood, "nostalgic pictures" as Lubimov suggests

Overview

No old warhorses here. For this unusual and eminently enjoyable album, pianist Alexei Lubimov has assembled what seems to be a highly personal collection of miniatures by several well-known composers, none of which smacks of standard repertoire. The ten pieces are reflective and elegiac in mood, "nostalgic pictures" as Lubimov suggests in the liner notes, and it is this private, not-for-public-display quality that is the common thread through the program. The pieces may be unfamiliar, but Lubimov plays each one with such dedication and subtlety that none seems unwarranted, and while they range over three centuries, none seems out of place. C. P. E. Bach's F-sharp Minor Fantasy (1787) starts things off in a deeply expressionistic mode, with music that is remarkably forward-looking for its time -- so much so that the jump to John Cage's "In a Landscape" (1948) is only slightly jarring. Of course, the style of Cage's piece is about the last thing you'd expect from this composer, almost Debussy-like in its delicate impressionism. Less ephemeral is the string of lyrical gems from the 19th century: Franz Liszt's wistful "Abschied" (Departure), Glinka's gorgeous F Minor Nocturne "La Séparation," and Chopin's surprisingly little-known C-sharp Minor Prélude, Op. 45. Of the 20th-century pieces, Debussy's "Elegie" (his last work for piano) and the first of Bartók's Four Dirges, Op. 9, are kindred spirits -- epigrammatic and introspective, with nary a wasted note. The others -- by Lebanese composer Tigram Mansurian and Ukrainian Valentin Silvestrov -- are more ear-opening, yet they still fit seamlessly into the mix. Altogether, it may seem like an excess of melancholy, but Lubimov never lets the mood grow too dark, and ECM's resonant yet detailed sound is a pleasure to experience. Warmly recommended.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Paul Griffiths
Mr. Lubimov is an exciting player, not just in physical terms but in his thoughtfulness. There are passages in C. P. E. Bach's F sharp minor Fantasia, the big piece with which he begins, where his articulation is just this side of ironic in speed and clarity, but he is equally impressive in judging how far he can go, as he makes these 10 adieus, in protracting the moment, delaying the close.
The New Yorker - Russell Platt
Lubimov’s performances are so hauntingly persuasive that each one seems indispensable. The pianist’s free, impulsive, jazzlike style -- crisp attacks emerging from gentle vapors of pedal -- lightens what could have been an overload of nostalgia.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/25/2002
Label:
Ecm Import
UPC:
0028946181225
catalogNumber:
461812
Rank:
160070

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