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Balakirev: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Sonatas / Nicholas Walker

Album Summary

>Balakirev, Mily : Sonata for Piano [No. 2] in B flat minor
>Balakirev, Mily : Sonata for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 5
>Balakirev, Mily : Sonata for Piano in B flat minor, Op. 3
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Expedition Audio Recommended
Balakirev's brilliant piano music is infused with Russian folk tunes and demonstrates Lisztian leanings... It is always beautifully written for the instrument, taking advantage of its entire range and is lyrical, while often at the same time, quite percussive. There can be a taste of the Orient in Balakirev's expressivity, especially in his melodic lines, which will sometimes merge Near-Eastern melodic qualities with Western harmonies.... read more ...

Volume 1 of the complete Piano Sonatas of Mily Balakirev includes the first recording of Op. 3 and the first recording of Op. 5 using the original manuscript and without the mistakes to be found in the two published scores. English pianist Nicholas Walker infuses these works with his characteristic knowledge and great technical acumen.

American Record Guide, September/October 2013
This is Volume I of a Complete Piano Works series. For more than 40 years Balakirev's Piano Sonata in B-flat minor has been a favorite of mine. I came across Louis Kentner's 1949 world premiere recording on a Turnabout LP back in the 1970s and eventually acquired a copy of the music. Walker's excellent notes guide you through Balakirev's three piano sonatas, all in B-flat minor, and all sharing the same thematic material for their 'Mazurka' movement (II). There is a 30-minute, four movement sonata written in 1855 and assigned Op. 3. The following year saw a three-movement, 21-minute sonata called the first and given Op. 5. Nearly 45 years passed before Balakirev returned to the form. Walker's excellent notes guide you through Balakirev's three piano sonatas, all in B-flat minor, and all sharing the same thematic material for their 'Mazurka' movement (II). There is a 30-minute, four movement sonata written in 1855 and assigned Op. 3. The following year saw a three-movement, 21-minute sonata called the first and given Op. 5. I have seen it listed as Sonata 2, and it is the one I have known for so long. It has four movements and lasts about 25 minutes. Walker presents the works in reverse chronological order, thereby giving us the best and best-known work first. It is a masterly performance. Walker finds inner voices and emphasizes some different aspects of the harmony and form, making for a new and well thought out interpretation. He has the full technical capability to handle all of the demands of this score, which also bodes well for future volumes in the series. In a few aspects, he is more faithful to the score than anyone else. Most pianists shorten the values here, but not Walker. He completely ends one section and then begins the next. If you are as enamored of Balakirev as I am, this belongs in your collection. I suspect the coming volumes will as well, assuming they are up to the high standards set by this initial release.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Wyastone Lees, England (06/10/2012-06/13/2012).



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Works Details

>Balakirev, Mily : Sonata for Piano [No. 2] in B flat minor
  • Performer: Nicholas Walker (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Lees, England (06/10/2012-06/13/2012)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1900-1905

>Balakirev, Mily : Sonata for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 5
  • Performer: Nicholas Walker (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Lees, England (06/10/2012-06/13/2012)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1855-1856

>Balakirev, Mily : Sonata for Piano in B flat minor, Op. 3
  • Performer: Nicholas Walker (Piano)
  • Notes: Wyastone Lees, England (06/10/2012-06/13/2012)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1855