Yefim Bronfman plays Tchaikovsky and Balakirev
This CD is interesting for two reasons:
1. It features two works for piano that are rarely heard.
2. It features a pianist, in turn, who is very well known.
The selections are as follows:
- Islamey – Oriental Fantasy
- The Seasons, Op. 37b
Performed by Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Tchaikovsky wrote ‘The Seasons’ in 1875–76 for the music magazine Nuvellist, which had commissioned a piece for every month of the year, to be published in successive issues. The composer – than at the height of his powers and position – did not take the job terribly seriously, and reportedly told his assistant to remind him of the task on a given day every month.
Although ‘The Seasons’ has had admirers over the years, the set as a whole has never attained wide popularity. Nonetheless, two movements were immediately recognized as minor masterpieces: the graceful ‘Barcarolle’ (June) and the evocative, jingly ‘In the Troika’ (November). But there are other lovely sections, notably the ‘White Nights’ and the ringing ‘Christmas’.
Composer Mily Balakirev’s oriental fantasy called ‘Islamey’ is one of the most technically difficult works in the piano repertoire. Composed in 1869, the piece is believed to have been conceived as a sketch for a longer, orchestral work. In the decades around the turn of the century, it became a favorite with such leading virtuosi as Anton Rubinstein and, later, Josef Hofmann.
Here is Yefim Bronfman in Balakirev’s Islamey:
And next, here’s a recording of Mr. Bronfman playing the Tchaikovsky ‘The Seasons’:
Finally, let’s listen to the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and pianist Yefim Bronfman as they perform Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #3:
Great music, Eh?
Tags: Yefim Bronfman, pianist, Tchaikovsky, Islamey, the Seasons, Rachmaninov