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Ukrainian Piano Music


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dhibbard
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« on: May 02, 2019, 05:46:02 am »

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BSXVD41/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

This is a release that slipped under the radar from 2018  of Ukrainian Piano classics:
Lysenko
Revutsky
Zhuk
Skoryk

by husband and wife combo Anna Shelest and Smitri Shelest on the Sorel label from support of the Sorel Organization. 
just ordered mine last week.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 05:57:09 am »

Fanfare Magazine, Dave Saemann

In 39:5 I had the pleasure of reviewing pianist Anna Shelest’s debut CD, Spirit and Romance. That CD was underwritten by the Sorel Organization, which has since lent its support to a number of albums by Shelest, the latest being the subject of this review, Ukrainian Rhapsody. I also reviewed a duo recording in 39:5 by Anna and her pianist husband, Dmitri Shelest, entitled Tutti. The Shelests are one of the best piano duos since Robert and Gaby Casadesus, and it is with great pleasure that I welcome Dmitri’s participation in Ukrainian Rhapsody. There is much to say about Anna Shelest as a soloist. She has all the technique one could ask for, and, when she wishes to, can produce a beautifully rounded, elegant tone. At times, as in the title work of this CD, Anna even can seem demonic. She is a musician of superb taste, which is evidenced in the fine selection of pieces on the present record. Ukrainian Rhapsody proves that there is much more to composers born in that country than Prokofiev, whom I would note Anna already has recorded. Both Shelests were born in Ukraine, and clearly take great pride in the accomplishments of composers from their native land. Given the military tensions between Ukraine and Russia in recent years, one also may see Ukrainian Rhapsody as a patriotic gesture on the part of the pianists. That said, there is not a weak piece on the album. The Shelests justify their endeavor here through the quality of the music and the astuteness of their interpretations.

Mykola Lysenko, the father of Ukrainian music, also was an ethnographer. His Suite on Ukrainian Themes is patterned after Bach’s partitas, being a set mainly of dances. Its Prelude is a homage to the First Prelude of The Well-Tempered Clavier. The Courante is a mixture of courtly and peasant dance music. Bach’s Two-Part Inventions seem to have inspired the Toccata. The Sarabanda almost feels like the work of one of the French clavecinists. A theme and variations, the Gavotte reminds me in places of Ukrainian themes in Tchaikovsky’s “Little Russian” Symphony. The Scherzo is a bright, witty send-off for the Suite. The Overture to Lysenko’s opera Taras Bulba evokes the melodic elegance, richness, and panache of Borodin. It is heard here in a four-hand arrangement by Lysenko’s student and exponent Levko Revutsky. The latter’s Preludes on this CD are beautifully wrought compositions. Op. 4/1 seems to draw its atmosphere from Debussy. No. 2 is reminiscent of Rachmaninoff in its artful deployment of the keyboard. The two op. 7 Preludes share the exotic perfumes of early Scriabin. Revutsky’s Waltz in B♭ is a salon piece that would sit very comfortably beside Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons. Shelest subtly teases out every last bit of its faded elegance. Alexander Zhuk’s Ukrainian Rhapsody is a Lisztian canvas with the raw colors of Kandinsky. Distant echoes of Paganini’s wildness can be heard in it.

The one living composer on the CD, Myroslav Skoryk, reminds me of Malcolm Arnold in his eclecticism and embrace of styles from popular music His Three Extravagant Dances open with an “Entrance and Dance,” which plays with a tango rhythm saturated with the deep colors of southern Spain. “Blues,” marked “Almost American,” would not seem out of place under the fingers of Dick Hyman. The Shelests feel very comfortable with their adopted country’s musical idiom, down to the quotation from Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. The concluding “Can-Can” is a vaudeville turn by a dance team. The CD’s sound engineering is excellent. Ukrainian Rhapsody makes the best imaginable case for the music of the Shelests’ native land. Pianophiles will want it for its stirring performances of rare repertory. Highly recommended
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 05:59:41 am »

http://www.sorelmusic.org/Sorel/Home.html
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