Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lyapunov, a Russian romantic

How many Russian romantic composers are in your collection? Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov obviously, most likely Mussorgsky, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov, but beyond that? And yet, there is a wealth of inspiring composers in the so-called second tier (Arensky, Taneev, Gliere, and so on). Even less known, but definitely worth checking out, is Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov (1859-1924). Mainly known (if at all) for his piano works, his real strength for me is in his concertos. His violin concerto (also available on Naxos) is simply beautiful, and his two piano concertos are among the best in the neglected romantic catalogue for this instrument - quite rightly, Hyperion have included them in their still expanding 50+ CD series of romantic piano concertos. This Naxos CD contains these two interesting concertos, with the worthwhile Rhapsody on Ukrainian Themes thrown in as bonus. Shorena Tsintsabadze is the excellent soloists, with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, under Dmitry Yablonsky. Outstanding performances in great sound, this is a must for lovers of romantic concertos.