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Balakirev: Complete Piano Works / Alexander Paley


Release Date: 07/26/2011 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94086   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mily BalakirevMikhail GlinkaFrédéric ChopinLudwig van Beethoven,   ... 
Performer:  Alexander Paley
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 6 Hours 40 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If one were to ask fans of classical music to name the most difficult piano piece to play, answers would likely cluster around two works: Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and Balakirev’s Islamey. Whereas the former is among Ravel’s less popular works, the latter is thought by many to be the only piano piece Balakirev wrote. This collection of all Balakirev’s solo piano music, by the Russian-American pianist Alexander Paley, disproves that misconception. It is full of charming and entertaining works across a wide palette.

Mili Balakirev occupies a pivotal place in Russian musical history. His was the strongest personality within the “Mighty Handful”, that group of composers all born in the period 1833 to 1844 comprising Borodin,
Read more Cui, Balakirev, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. They came together in St. Petersburg in the 1860s and were labelled by Vladimir Stasov, a friend, writer and one-time Russian Fine Arts Minister. Balakirev was a superb pianist, the best among them, and a largely self-taught composer.

When the new Conservatories in St. Petersburg (1862) and Moscow (1866) were established, he embraced them and participated in their growth. But when he saw how elitist they were becoming and how they were causing his colleagues to surpass him in musical knowledge, he started the Free School of Music. He devoted enormous time and energy to running the School, and to teaching, conducting and composing throughout the 1860s. The Free School fell on hard times in the early 1870s and Balakirev suffered what today would be called a nervous breakdown.

Balakirev was a different man after the breakdown. He converted from atheism to devout Russian Orthodoxy and his creative abilities diminished. It’s generally acknowledged that his very best work predates 1870, including Islamey (1869). He took three vacations in the Caucasus area during the 1860s and brought back folk-songs and the “oriental” idiom that found its way into many of his compositions. Also present on these tracks are the strong influences of Chopin and Liszt. He wrote every type of piano music that Chopin wrote except Ballades, and kept a picture of Liszt above his desk. The feeling was mutual in that Liszt insisted that all his students learn to play Islamey.

Appropriately Islamey, subtitled An Oriental Fantasy, leads off the first CD set and is followed by two other fantasies and three nocturnes. Some parts of the nocturnes are far from dreamlike. Two sonatas, one each written before and after his breakdown, and a sonatina, the last piano piece he wrote, occupy the second CD. Transcriptions of works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin, Glinka and Balakirev himself fill the third CD. Chopin-like works, Waltzes, Mazurkas and Scherzos occupy the next two, and the last CD is a miscellany of 14 short and mostly charming pieces.

Alexander Paley was born in Moldova in 1956, not too far from where Balakirev gathered his folk-songs almost a century earlier, so he has this music in his soul. He plays with a crispness and clarity that is vital in this repertoire. Even though the recordings were made almost two decades ago, they remain fresh and worth hearing. Adding to the enjoyment is a good set of notes, including personal comments by the performer about each piece.

-- Paul Kennedy, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 8 Minutes 55 Secs. 
2.
Fantasia on themes from Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 14 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3.
Phantasiestuck for Piano in D flat major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4.
Nocturne for Piano no 1 in B flat minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5.
Nocturne for Piano no 2 in B minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 9 Minutes 55 Secs. 
6.
Nocturne for Piano no 3 in D minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 0 Secs. 
7.
Capriccio for Piano in D major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 10 Minutes 31 Secs. 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 5 by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1856; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 24 Minutes 26 Secs. 
9.
Esquisses (Sonatina) for Piano in G major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
10.
Sonata for Piano in B flat minor (1905) by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1905; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 29 Minutes 30 Secs. 
11.
Kamarinskaya by Mikhail Glinka
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 9 Minutes 30 Secs. 
12.
Say not that love will pass by Mikhail Glinka
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 36 Secs. 
13.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11: 2nd movement, Romanze by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 10 Minutes 54 Secs. 
14.
Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat major, Op. 130: 5th movement, Cavatina by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs. 
15.
Quartet for Strings no 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no 2 "Razumovsky": 3rd movement, Allegretto by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 9 Minutes 34 Secs. 
16.
Rêverie by Zapolsky,
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
17.
Songs (10), 1896: no 2, The wilderness by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
18.
L'enfance du Christ, Op. 25: Flight into Egypt by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850-1854; France 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 
19.
Impromptu for Piano by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 30 Secs. 
20.
Capriccio brillante on the theme "Jota aragonesa" by Mikhail Glinka
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 10 Minutes 42 Secs. 
21.
Waltz for Piano no 1 in G major "Valse di bravura" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 8 Minutes 19 Secs. 
22.
Waltz for Piano no 2 in F minor "Valse mélancholique" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 12 Secs. 
23.
Waltz for Piano no 3 in D major "Valse-impromptu" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 8 Secs. 
24.
Waltz for Piano no 4 in B flat major "Valse de concert" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 4 Secs. 
25.
Waltz for Piano no 5 in D flat major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 20 Secs. 
26.
Waltz for Piano no 6 in F sharp minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1904; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
27.
Waltz for Piano no 7 in G sharp minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 27 Secs. 
28.
Polka for Piano in F sharp minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
29.
Tarantella for Piano in B major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 46 Secs. 
30.
Valse-caprice in A flat major by Alexander Taneyev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 6 Secs. 
31.
Valse-caprice in D flat major by Alexander Taneyev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY, Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 31 Secs. 
32.
Mazurka for Piano no 1 in A flat major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861/1884; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
33.
Mazurka for Piano no 2 in C sharp minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861/1884; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
34.
Mazurka for Piano no 3 in B minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
35.
Mazurka for Piano no 4 in G flat major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
36.
Mazurka for Piano no 5 in D major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
37.
Mazurka for Piano no 6 in A flat major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
38.
Mazurka for Piano no 7 in E flat minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
39.
Scherzo for Piano no 1 in B minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
40.
Scherzo for Piano no 2 in B flat minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
41.
Scherzo for Piano no 3 in F sharp major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
42.
Dumka for Piano by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
43.
Au jardin by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
44.
Gondellied in A minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 44 Secs. 
45.
Berceuse for Piano in D flat minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 19 Secs. 
46.
The Lark by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864/1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs. 
47.
Spanish melody for Piano by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
48.
Spanish Serenade for Piano by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 2 Secs. 
49.
La fileuse for Piano in B flat minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
50.
Tyrolienne by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 38 Secs. 
51.
Chant du pecheur by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
52.
Humoresque for Piano in D major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
53.
Rêverie for Piano in F major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 26 Secs. 
54.
Novelette for Piano in A major by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 5 Minutes 54 Secs. 
55.
Toccata for Piano in C sharp minor by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Alexander Paley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 

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