‘Melancholy…nostalgic pictures…quiet meditation’ – all phrases which come into play in Alexei Lubimov’s foreword to the present collection‚ and all apposite to one or another of the 10 pieces featured. The freelyevolving monologue – now ruminative‚ now capricious – of CPE Bach’s Fantasia in F sharp minor provides an uncharacteristically substantial opening to a disc in which ‘elegy’ is expressed in generally inwardlooking terms. Thus the exquisite‚ marblefrozen intricacy of John Cage’s In a landscape‚ or the improvisatoriness of Tigran Mansurian’s Nostalgia – perfectly poised between East and West in tonal expression. Abschied is among the most approachable of Liszt’s valedictory late piano pieces‚ while Glinka’s F minor Nocturne speaks of ‘separation’ in elegantly midEuropean accents. Chopin’s C sharp minor Prelude is a late appendix to his celebrated cycle‚ transmuting what was wild and unpredictable into music of fatalistic acceptance. The liquid prosody of Valentin Silvestrov’s Elegie‚ a subtle reminder of his more than dutiful credentials in the 1960s avantgarde‚ finds a natural context in the company of Debussy’s stoic Elégie (a selfcommemoration as Ivan Moody rightly points out) and the first of Bartók’s harmonically ambivalent Dirges. Der Bote concludes the disc as Silvestrov’s halfremembered recollection of another world – pain giving way to an enveloping poignancy.
Undemonstrative playing from Lubimov‚ a questing pianist whose appearances in the West have become a welcome occurrence in the postSoviet era. The sound is appropriately spacious‚ though is it churlish to have wishedfor a degree more tonal clarity? Warmlyrecommended in any event.