Arensky: Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2
Format: COMPACT DISC
Munich Piano Trio
Anton Stepanovich Arensky was born in Novgorod on 12 July 1861 and spent his boyhood years in a comfortable family setting conductive to the early detection and encouragement of his extraordinary musical talent. His father, a physician, was an avid cellist, and his mother was an excellent pianist. Arensky was already composing songs and piano pieces at the age of nine and began his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1879. Rimsky-Korsakov, a firm advocate of Russian School and the artistic rival of Tchaikovsky (who was ostracized as a Westernizer) was his composition teacher. Arensky passed the final conservatory examination with distinction three years later and immediately received a professorship at the Moscow Conservatory. Among his pupils were Rechmaninov and Scriabin, both much better known today than their teacher. In Moscow Arensky came under Tchaikovsky´s influence and emerged as a composer of Western stamp. His opera A Dream on the Volga, premiered with great success in Moscow in 1891, reflects this stylistic development: he began the opera as a student under Rimsky-Korsakov´s tutelage and completed it as an admirer of Tchaikovsky. While carrying out his teaching duties, Arensky also led Russian choral society and conducted symphony concerts. He succeeded Balakirev as director of the court chour St. Petersburg in 1894 and left this position in 1901 to work as a freelance composer, conductor, and pianist in Russia and abroad. Although Arensly met with artistic success, his passion for drink and gaming, already in evidence during his youth, gradually took control of his life and led to his ruination. Arensky succumbed to tuberculosis at the relatively young age of forty-five in 25 February 1906.