A French-Russian keyboard wizard offers three contrasting perspectives on Baroque style: an original, fascinating and rewarding concept album.
‘There's real authority and vision’ to Proshayev’s Schumann, observed The Guardian on Denys Proshayev’s debut album for Piano Classics in 2013 (PCL0057): ‘the cleanness and clarity of his playing are hard to ignore.’ A second album focused on Alfred Schnittke (PCL0071), drawing the following praise from Fanfare: ‘A well played and well recorded programme… Proshayev and his duo partner Nadia Mokhtari really get into the spirit of the [Gogol Suite]… Proshayev has a clear tone and lucid technique. He prioritizes clarity over histrionics, yet never skimps on drama.’
A previous collection of Rameau also won high praise, and his latest album ingeniously unites his particular sympathy for Schnittke with his poise and imaginative tonal colouring of Baroque masters. A booklet interview reveals that it was the ‘unbelievable beauty and harmonious refinement’ of Rameau’s music that drew Proshayev to him, despite the challenges involved in transferring a completely original and highly ornamented idiom from harpsichord to piano: ‘On the modern piano, these ornaments offer such a great variety of possibilities, unimaginable nuances and so much freedom that these technical challenges at the end give place to pleasure.’
Proshayev’s pleasure in performance will be shared by the listener in these new recordings of the E minor Suite by Rameau, imaginatively paired with the Sixth Partita composed in the same key by Bach. For Proshayev the challenges involved in playing Bach are at least as much spiritual as technical: ‘Bach’s music is the quintessence of the highest concentration of emotions and spirituality.’
He concludes with a piano-duet arrangement of the Suite in Olden Style which Schnittke originally composed for violin and piano as a homage to the Baroque masters, uninflected by the irony and distance characterising some of his other ‘polystylistic’ experiments in music.
An original program presenting 3 Baroque Suites by two Baroque masters and one 20th century master: Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Alfred Schnittke. Apart from their stylistic differences they share the common characteristics of the Baroque Suite, a succession of dance movements displaying charm, grace and irrepressible zest and wit.
Denys Proshayev plays the 6th Partita in E minor by Bach, the Suite in E minor by Rameau and Suite in Ancient Style by Schnittke, an arrangement for piano 4 hands (original violin and piano), in which Proshayev plays with Nadia Mokhtari.
Russian pianist Denys Proshayev has a strong affinity to Baroque and Contemporary music. His Sony CD with suites by Rameau was “Best CD of the year 2006” in Die Zeit. His two previous CD’s for Piano Classics (Schumann Davidsbündlertänze) and Schnittke (Concerto and solo works) were met with great critical acclaim.
The booklet contains an interesting interview with the artist, dealing about playing Baroque music on the piano.