Moscow-born Nikita Koshkin won international fame for his 1980 score The Prince’s Toys and has since established himself as one of the greatest creative composers for the contemporary guitar. His 24 Preludes and Fugues for Solo Guitar, of which this is the first volume, is a compendium of musical styles, colors and effects. It is both a virtuosic tour de force and an expressively complex undertaking that demands unremitting technical command and absolute interpretative clarity from the performer. Asya Selyutina represents the new generation of the Russian classical guitarists. She appears regularly as a soloist, in chamber music ensembles, with orchestras and as a juror at prestigiousRead more competitions.
You enjoy the guitar, you want to hear something new, but not some off-the-wall, out-there experiment in how much abuse a guitar string (or the guitar itself) can take (attention-getting but not usually pleasant listening). Nor are you looking for yet another go at Recuerdos de la Alhambra or Asturias. What do you do? Well, I suggest you look no further than this extraordinary recital from Russian guitarist Asya Selyutina, performing a set of pieces that you’ve probably never heard of–it’s a world-premiere recording–but that I promise you will play over and over, in the background, the foreground, and whenever you just want to hear guitar music (and playing) that’s always engaging, never harsh, that’s clever, not cute, that’s expertly crafted and both easy on the ear and stimulating to the musical mind.
Bach’s monumental tribute to tonality, the Well-Tempered Clavier, inspired numerous imitations and re-imaginings, among the most notable and perhaps the closest to the master’s in ingenuity and pure keyboard craft, is Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes & Fugues–and although not nearly as extensive or complex in invention and development, fellow Russian Nikita Koshkin’s creations for guitar are equally varied, while stylistically sophisticated, and–absolutely essential–unfailingly idiomatic to the guitar, comfortably inhabiting the instrument’s (non-gimmicky) expressive realm yet consistently challenging the player’s virtuosic technique.
And the Moscow-based guitarist Asya Selyutina is a superb soloist, displaying an enviably smooth legato while delineating contrapuntal lines with uncanny, and uncommon, clarity. She seems to relish the rare moments of “special effects” (rapping on the guitar body; harmonics), and charges into rapid passages without inhibition. She’s not only a renowned teacher in her home city, but also has a successful performing career mostly in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East (she even created the painting featured on the disc cover). Perhaps following this project, Selyutina will be deservedly better-known around the world.
Oh, and never heard of Nikita Koshkin, you say? The 64-year-old composer is well-known to guitar fans for his suite The Prince’s Toys and Usher-Waltz (after Edgar Allan Poe) from the 1980s; he’s an accomplished guitarist himself, which explains his master’s grasp of what’s possible in creating these terrific pieces; his artistic inventor’s mind takes care of the rest, making it all interesting and musically satisfying. And we can happily look forward to another 12 preludes and fugues in Volume 2. Don’t miss this.
From Russia with loveJuly 29, 2020By graham hawkes (Perth, Australia)See All My Reviews"Congratulation to Ms Selyutina for recording the 24. It has a recurring place on loop in my workshop. To me it's elegant, interesting, exquisitely played and a great contribution to guitar repertoire. Of course I already have Nikita Koshkin playing "The Princes Toys". Graham Great music on the radio for guitar and related instruments every Sunday 6 to 7 pm on PLUCKED STRINGS RTRFM 92.1 https://rtrfm.com.au/shows/pluckedstrings/ for live stream, re-stream of previous shows and playlists."Report Abuse