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Shostakovich: Piano Works / Lilia Boyadjieva

Release Date: 05/26/2009 
Label:  Artek   Catalog #: 48   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Lilia Boyadjieva
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SHOSTAKOVICH Fantastic Dances . Piano Sonata No. 2. Preludes, op. 34 Lilia Boyadjieva (pn) ARTEK AR-0048-2 (66: 19)

The Bulgarian-born pianist Lilia Boyadjieva has been praised in these pages by Walter Simmons and Peter Burwasser for her “power and delicacy” performing the music of Samuel Barber ( Fanfare 20:4) and “intensity of purpose and bold dynamic command” in a program of fugues ranging from Read more Bach to Shchedrin ( Fanfare 30:6), respectively—attributes that are certainly in evidence in this program of somewhat more varied and challenging music. Boyadjieva having graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, Shostakovich’s music was likely an important part of her studies, and she sounds especially comfortable with the stylistic quirks of the youthful dances (composed when he was 16) and the preludes (from 1932–33, probably as a warm-up for his First Piano Concerto and after he had completed the shocking opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk ). With crisp, clear phrasing, Boyadjieva is able to draw out the significant details in Shostakovich’s concise essays; she balances the many contrasting tempos without exaggerating them, and avoids placing undue emphasis on the music’s more exotic characteristics. Thus, for example, she can suggest lyrical echoes of Chopin (and, naturally, Chopin’s Russian heir, Scriabin) in the filigree of Prelude No. 2, expose the melancholy drama so typical of Shostakovich in No. 20, achieve a whispery delicacy in No. 17, and toss off the dazzling No. 5 with equal aplomb.

The Second Piano Sonata offers a different set of challenges to the performer. It was composed in 1942, between the Seventh and Eighth symphonies, possibly the bleakest period of the composer’s life, and following a somewhat turbulent opening movement, Shostakovich relates feelings of an almost incapacitating depression in the slow second movement, concluding the sonata with an extended sequence of variations of symphonic breadth, a gradual dramatic crescendo that dissolves into introspective secrecy. The same sense of proportion and balance that Boyadjieva brings to the preludes, while musically convincing, does not in this case fully account for the extreme emotional distress the music portrays. Her slow movement, though sensitive to the music’s hushed tone and arid texture, does not reach the level of breathtaking bitterness and shattered anguish conveyed by Boris Petrushansky on a 1989 MCA Classics disc. Likewise, Tatiana Nikolayeva, on Hyperion, despite a few missteps and rough spots, offers a palpable sense of gravity and stark expressionism. Her piano tone is powerful (bass notes thunder like cannon) and her slower pace in the opening and closing movements has a sardonic edge that’s missing in other accounts.

Still, though without the overt emotionalism others have brought to it, Boyadjieva has a good grasp of the sonata, and combined with her appealing performance of the 24 Preludes, this is a disc worth hearing.

FANFARE: Art Lange
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Works on This Recording

Fantastic Dances (3) for Piano, Op. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Lilia Boyadjieva (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; USSR 
Venue:  Athens Conservatory 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano no 2 in B minor, Op. 61 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Lilia Boyadjieva (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USSR 
Venue:  Athens Conservatory 
Length: 29 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 34 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Lilia Boyadjieva (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USSR 
Venue:  Athens Conservatory 
Length: 27 Minutes 50 Secs. 

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