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Piano Works by The Mighty Handful

> Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade
> Pictures at an Exhibition - I. Gnomus
> Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade
> Pictures at an Exhibition - II. Old Castle
> Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade
> Pictures at an Exhibition - III. Tuileries
> Pictures at an Exhibition - IV. Bydlo
> Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade
> Pictures at an Exhibition - V. Ballet of the Chickens in their Shells
> Pictures at an Exhibition - VI. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
> Pictures at an Exhibition - Promenade
> Pictures at an Exhibition - VII. The Market-Place at Limoges
> Pictures at an Exhibition - VIII. Catacombae (Sepulcrum romanum) -
> Pictures at an Exhibition - VIII. Con mortuis in lingua mortua
> Pictures at an Exhibition - IX. The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga)
> Pictures at an Exhibition - X. The Great Gate at Kiev
> 4 Morceaux, Op. 22 - 4 Morceaux, Op. 22: No. 3. Nocturne
> Scherzo in A flat major - Scherzo in A flat major
> Petite Suite - I. In the Monastery
> Petite Suite - II. Intermezzo
> Petite Suite - III. Mazurka
> Petite Suite - IV. Mazurka
> Petite Suite - V. Reverie
> Petite Suite - VI. Serenade
> Petite Suite - VII. Nocturne
> 4 Pieces, Op. 11 - 4 Pieces, Op. 11: No. 3. Scherzino
> 3 Pieces, Op. 15 - No. 2. Romance
> 3 Pieces, Op. 15 - No. 1. Waltz
> Islamey - Islamey

Album Summary

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an exhibition
>Cui, César : Nocturne for piano in F sharp minor, Op. 22/3
>Borodin, Alexander : Scherzo for piano in A flat major
>Borodin, Alexander : Petite Suite for piano
>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Four Pieces, Op. 11
>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Three Pieces, Op. 15
>Balakirev, Mily : Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey"
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

For his first solo recital album for Chandos, Philip Edward Fisher performs piano works by members of the 'Mighty Handful' - a group of 5 Russian Composers who in the 1860s banded together to create a truly national school of Russian music, free of the perceived stiffling influences of Western European forms. They were all self-trained amateurs. Borodin combined composing with a career in chemistry; Rimsky-Korsakov a naval offier; Mussorgsky a civil servant before taking up music. The composers incorporated into their music sounds that echoed Russian life: village songs, dances, church chants. Their works would come to influence Prokofiev and Stravinsky, and change the course of Russian music for years to come.

"It was a good idea to group the piano works of five composers who played a vital role in the evolution of Russian music, for they offer variety aplenty. In “Pictures at an Exhibition” Fisher’s easy-on-the-ear musicality more than compensates for his lack of temperamental swagger and thunderous tone." -Financial Times

"Fisher's decision to fashion a recital from the works of all five has considerable appeal.Their piano music varies in quality, however...Borodin's Petite Suite comes over as a work of exquisite grace and melodic charm that deserves to be much better known. It suits Fisher's refined style rather well, too. As with the music, so his playing tends to variability. Islamey is dazzling. Pictures is very reined in and meditative." -The Guardian

"Pictures is given a fine, muscular performance without being outstanding; Islamey boasts transparently clear textures at the expense of spine-tingling bravura...An interesting concept to have keyboard works from each of 'The Five' ranged alongside one another on the same disc" -Classic FM Magazine***

"Fisher gives thoroughly compelling performances of both Pictures and Islamey, finding apt characterisation and colour in the Mussorgsky without falling into the trap, as some pianists have done, of trying to reinvent the music...[Islamey] comes across with a winning mix of allure and brilliance. the disc reveals an intriguing facet of a coterie of composers generally remembered for their orchestral music and operas." -The Telegraph*****

"[Pictures and Islamey] give him a chance to show off his virtuosity and assured technique...Still, the real interest here resides in the more modest works that come in between...This music may be light, but it still stands up to repeated listening." BBC Music Magazine****

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010).



Reviews

Quite a handful...
Philip Edward Fisher’s first disc for Chandos is dedicated to those 19th-century proponents of a Russian school of composition known as “The Five” or “The Mighty Handful”. Taking on two of the great knucklebusters of the piano literature--“Islamey” and “Pictures at an Exhibition”--Fisher responds with facility and assurance. (I love a big splashy transcription, but I hear more detail in Fisher’s “Pictures” than I do in Ravel’s.) What’s very nice about this disc is that there’s a lot of softer playing, even in some of the bravura passages, which can easily become so much banging. None of the shorter works call for the same technical prowess, but none of them are slighted, either. (Check out his charming scamper through Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scherzino”.) Very nice sound from an unidentified piano. At 81 minutes, it’s about as full as a CD can get, and there’s even a bonus track to be downloaded free from the Chandos website.
Submitted on 07/17/11 by Jim D. 
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Works Details

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an exhibition
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 32 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874

>César Cui (1835 - 1918) : Nocturne for piano in F sharp minor, Op. 22/3
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1883

>Borodin, Alexander : Scherzo for piano in A flat major
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1885

>Borodin, Alexander : Petite Suite for piano
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1885

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Four Pieces, Op. 11 :: 3. Scherzino in A major
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1876-1877

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Three Pieces, Op. 15 :: 2. Romance in A flat major
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1875-1876

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Three Pieces, Op. 15 :: 1. Waltz in C sharp major
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1875-1876

>Balakirev, Mily : Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey"
  • Performer: Philip Fisher (Piano)
  • Notes: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (08/25/2010-08/26/2010)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1869