AROUND THE FUGUE • Lilia Boyadjieva (pn) • ARTEK 33 (65:06)
BACH Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. MENDELSSOHN Prelude and Fugue in b. LISZT Fantasy and Fugue of Bach, S 463. FRANCK Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue. SHOSTAKOVICHRead more class="ARIAL12b"> Prelude and Fugue in D?. SHCHEDRIN Prelude and Fugue in g. WONG Fugato
This collection of fugues begins, completely appropriately, with the music of J. S. Bach. The conceit of the program is to present a three-century overview of the fugue in the solo piano repertoire, as it progresses from the Baroque, through the early Romantic era, deep into the 19th century, and finally, landing in the modern age. This is, for once, a concept album that really works. It is fascinating to listen to a durable and rather stodgy format quite effortlessly withstanding the ravages of time. The composer who seems to draw from all directions is Liszt, whose powerhouse work is a fireworks display of virtuoso-writing. It is odd that this highly entertaining masterpiece is not played more often. If Shostakovich represents a smart, reverent homage to the music of Bach, Shchedrin is rather rude, evincing the ability to make something supremely elegant into something ugly. The young Chinese composer Cynthia Lee Wong rounds out the collection with a brash and raucous work that still rings with distinct echoes of the great Bach.
Bulgarian-born, Moscow Conservatory-trained pianist Lila Boyadjieva sounds alert and intelligent, and more to the point of this CD, she has assembled a fascinating and instructive collection of music, which proceeds with a natural flow. Of the fugues that I am most familiar with, there are none for which Boyadjieva runs to the front of the pack. She skirts the smoldering sensuality of Rubinstein in the Franck and the elegance of Ashkenazy in the Shostakovich. Her Liszt is impressive, very self-assured and bursting with color. In all of her playing, there is an intensity of purpose and bold dynamic control that mark her as a Russian school pianist. This is not her first CD (she debuted with the complete solo piano music of Barber), but will probably be an introduction for most to an unusually probing and well-rounded artist.