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Opera / Yvar Mikhashoff


Release Date: 01/24/2006 
Label:  Mode   Catalog #: 154   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiGiacomo PucciniVincenzo BelliniClaude Debussy,   ... 
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although Yvar Mikhashoff (1941-1993) was one of the leading new-music pianists of his generation, his insatiable musical appetites covered a great wealth of styles and genres. In the last few years of his life, Yvar began to create his own operatic transcriptions, building upon the time-honored 19th-century virtuoso tradition. Luckily, he recorded nine of these in the year before his premature death, and the fruits of these sessions are released here for the first time in a specially priced two-disc set.


Yvar's early experience as an opera and lieder coach in Austria obviously informs the natural ebb and flow of his vocally oriented phrasing. In his unabashedly Chopinesque treatment of "Casta Diva" from
Read more Bellini's Norma, the massive rubatos embrace both spontaneity and proportion, as they also do in his phantasmagorial send-up of "Caro nome" from Verdi's Rigoletto, complete with introduction. Much of the 16-minute-plus Il Trittico Fantasy is given over to ingeniously interwoven excerpts from Puccini's triumvirate, culminating in a gentle, harmonically transfigured send-up of "O mio babbino caro", whose serpentine filigree would make Leopold Godowsky proud. And if you're curious as to what Madama Butterfly's greatest hits sound like in a context of Lisztian (even Alkanian) fireworks, look no further than Disc 1, track 5.


Disc 2 is given over to 20th-century opera, starting with a sizeable chunk of music from the orchestral interlude separating the second and third scenes of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. It effortlessly dovetails into the opera's final scene. Yvar wisely allows the music to speak for itself, and employs relatively discreet textural operations. By contrast, the background Tavern Garden Waltz from Berg's Wozzeck leapfrogs upstage and out to the bleachers via Mikhashoff's deliciously uninhibited piano writing.


A different kind of virtuosity is at play throughout the Striding Dance from Kevin Volans' opera The Man with the Footsoles of Wind. The music consists of minimalist patterns in different tempos deployed in a wide array of dynamics and articulations. It takes the utmost digital independence and control to pull this off. Even granting Yvar's staggering facility to assimilate scores in record time, I'll bet he actually practiced this piece before the recording sessions! The distant, murky sound quality smacks more of archival than professional engineering, but we have to be grateful that these recordings exist at all. What's more, I hope this release will inspire more pianists to take up these fascinating scores. Yvar's program notes are like the man: witty and erudite. [3/10/2006]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Rigoletto: Caro nome by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
2.
Il Trittico: Excerpt(s) by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
3.
Madama Butterfly: Excerpt(s) by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
4.
Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
5.
Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
6.
Pelléas et Mélisande: Excerpt(s) by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1893-1902; France 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
7.
Wozzeck, Op. 7: Excerpt(s) by Alban Berg
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1922; Austria 
Notes: Arranger: Yvar Mikhashoff. 
8.
Wozzeck: Wirtshauswalzer by Alban Berg
Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1922; Austria 

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