- Impromptus (2) for piano, Op. 54
- Piano Sonata No. 2 in E minor, Op. 75
- Theme & Variations for piano in F sharp minor, Op. 72
- Piano Sonata No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 74
Elegant, graceful, and more than a little reminiscent of Chopin, the piano music of Alexander Glazunov is full of attractive melodies and surging romantic harmonies. This disc, the first volume of a complete Glazunov piano cycle, begins with two brief impromptus but moves on to feature three of his most ambitious works for the instrument, all written in a burst of activity in 1900-01: the Theme and Variations in F-sharp Minor and (for a full dose of pathos) the two minor-keyed piano sonatas. Although there's not much in the music to hint that it dates from the cusp of the 20th century, that takes nothing away from the enjoyment of Glazunov's fine craftsmanship and invention. The set of variations begins with a darkly folkish theme (one of the few Russian-sounding elements of this recital) that generates an enchanting series of transformations. The two sonatas are more earnest, even turbulent at times, and are carefully structured around recurring themes that create unity between the movements. Glazunov's versatility allows him to write a shimmering music-box scherzo one moment and a dense four-part fugue the next, all with equal aplomb. Duane Hulbert plays with virtuosity and sensitivity to style, giving charm to the lighter salon pieces and stormy urgency to the sonatas. Any aficionado of Romantic period piano music is bound to find a great deal here to relish.