Shamo: Complete Piano Music

Album cover art for upc 5029365101523
Label: PIANO CLASSICS
Catalog: PCL10152
Format: COMPACT DISC

Tchesnokov, Dimitri

Born in Kiev in 1925, Igor Shamo studied with the elder statesman of modern Ukrainian art music, Boris Lyatoshinsky. Schumann, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov were the giants of the past who seized the young Shamo’s attention, and traces of their impassioned, lyrically centered idioms may be discerned throughout the early works on the first portion of this new recording such as the Ukrainian Suite, Classical Suite and Shamo’s own take on Pictures at an Exhibition in his suite of Pictures by Russian Painters. The second portion is occupied by two more substantial cycles, of 12 Preludes from 1962 and six impressionistic Aquarelles from a decade later – both the appreciation and execution of painting was important to Shamo throughout his life. The final portion gathers up piano pieces throughout Shamo’s career, from the Marche fantastique, which so impressed the professors of the Kiev Conservatoire when the composer elected at the last minute to play it for his entrance exam, to three dances composed in 1972 and inspired by the folk culture of nearby Soviet republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. A counterpoint to their uncomplicated charms may be found in the three Songs of Friendship from 1954, in which Shamo treats melodies from Poland, Romania and what was then Czechoslovakia. Though jazz and minimalist techniques periodically surface in Shamo’s music, it bears the stamp of its Soviet times in its generally sunny character and clearly laid-out forms – though the serenity of the Ninth Prelude is answered by the machine-gun-fire Tenth, and Bartók casts a shadow over this music almost as often as Prokofiev. Dmitri Tchesnokov is, like Shamo, a native of Kiev, born in 1982 and long resident in France, where he pursues a career as both composer and pianist, as well as founding a directing a well-established festival of contemporary piano music in Paris.

Price: $49.98