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Gubaidulina, Medtner, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov

RACHMANINOV Piano sonata no.2 in B flat minor, op.36
MEDTNER (1880-1951) Sonata ‘Reminiscenza’ in A minor, op.38 no.1
PROKOFIEV Piano sonata no.7 in B flat major, op.83

Anna Vinnitskaya rec. Sion, Switzerland, 2008



PROKOFIEV Piano Sonatas 1-5

Alexandra Silocea rec. Mayfield, Sussex, 2010

Avie AV 2183

Two debut recordings by Russian-trained pianists of exceptional promise and youthful achievement.

If you like collecting intégrales, then you can be reassured that Alexandra Silocea's Vol 2 is scheduled to follow. The producer/editor of Alexandra's disc, Sebastien Chonion, became her husband during the week before its launch recital at Steinway Hall in London, which I was privileged to attend*.

On the other hand, if you share our preference for carefully constructed mixed programmes, then Anna Vinnitskaya's may appeal especially. Bookended by two of the most formidable sonatas in the Russian repertoire, Vinnitskaya has made brilliant choices for the middle of her programme.

Gubaidulina's Chaconne (1962) is a rigorously constructed edifice, easy to follow and enjoy, and the lyrical Medtner, one of his Forgotten Melodies, is a perfect foil for it and before the strenuous Prokofiev "War" sonata of 1942.

Both discs are impressively recorded and presented with thorough documentation and have given us great satisfaction. And both make any thought of gender totally inappropriate...

These accounts of key works in the Russian repertoire stand up against all the competition.

Anna & Alexandra's chosen repertoires don't overlap, so purchase of both is thoroughly recommendable.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* Our prospective reviewer - a Prokofiev specialist - to whom I had sent Alexandra's debut disc, which I'd enjoyed, was unwilling to review it, having found her interpretations so "immature and pallid" that that Alexandra Silocea was "nowhere near ready" to record the later greater sonatas ! Therefore, in fairness, I provide a link to a selection of reviews, all very positive. A matter of taste... PGW

Romberg, Debussy, Ravel, Liszt

Avie 2266

Alexandra Silocea's 2nd CD is presented flamboyantly (with photos by Dalia Nostratabadi) and good luck to her !

Master-minded again by her husband Sebastien Chonion, recorded in the same Sussex church near their home "during four September nights and very early hours" (presumably to escape traffic interference), and graced by notes from no less than Roger Nichols (2013), their selection of pieces about water is wholly enjoyable.

I am eager to hear this gifted and determined young pianist again in live concert and in the promised Prokofiev "War Sonatas".

Peter Grahame Woolf