Antonii Baryshevskyi – Galina Ustvolskaya: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 – 6 (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:16:14 minutes | 605 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front cover | © CAvi-music
„What we are about to hear is not a performance by conceptual artists who have decided to set a discarded Bechstein or Blüthner on fire – no, we are going to hear piano pieces by Galina Ivanovna Ustvolskaya.“ The words of the renowned Dutch music critic quoted above offer a precise, vivid description of the musical output of one of the most enigmatic composers of our time.
It is hard to apply the usual musicological jargon to Ustvolskaya‘s music. She was not the apocalypse of the 20th century; she was its echo. Thanks to providence, she was never sent to one of Stalin’s concentration camps: destiny allowed her to live in seclusion as an artist never blinded by hopes of success. In choosing solitude, she was by no means a Romantic “hero” fleeing from reality, overtly proud of fulfilling a mission or playing an exclusive role. Her seclusion, instead, was the bitter loneliness of a noble soul trembling in view of the world’s utter imperfection. She mourns for it. She prays for us. Ustvolskaya chose to live the life of a hermit. Contact with other human beings was something she often found difficult – even with musicians who really liked her. As she put it herself: “My sincerest wish would be to crawl into a barrel like Diogenes and just live secluded therein. That would be the best option for my life……………..“. (Excerpts from the liner notes by Iosif Raiskin)
„Markus Hinterhäuser’s complete Ustvolskaya piano sonata cycle, recorded in 1998, never did quite cut the mustard like Marianne Schroeder’s 1994 Hat Hut performances. And then, in 2006, Sabine Liebner moved Ustvolskaya interpretation to new heights with a cycle for Neos that felt intelligently integrated and sounded brazenly strepitous. So whither Hinterhäuser now?
He remains, I’m afraid to say, a definite third choice – never a disastrous, confiscate-his-instrument third, but his cycle has simply been superseded by subsequent events. Liebner never mistakes Ustvolskaya’s austere, stentorian sound world for simple greyness but Hinterhäuser sometimes slips perilously close. Through sheer physical insistence, in Liebner’s hands the Third Sonata (1952) is shell-shocked by its own existence; melodic fragments cut like serrated knives, obsessively struck chains of cluster formations make the piano resonate like you never heard before. The surface of Hinterhäuser’s performance hints at those possibilities but it’s neat and chanceless.
The Sixth Sonata (1988) reduces Ustvolskaya’s now-familiar trademark gestures to an archetypal essence. In Liebner, ghosts of sonatas past swarm; in Hinterhäuser the piece merely sounds like a sparser version of the first five. Given that Liebner also offers Ustvolskaya’s 12 Preludes, feeder works for the gestural vocabulary of the sonatas, really it’s a no-brainer.“ (Gramophone)
Galina Ustvolskaya (1919 – 2006)
01. Sonata No. 1: I.
02. Sonata No. 1: II.
03. Sonata No. 1: III.
04. Sonata No. 1: IV.
05. Sonata No. 2: I.
06. Sonata No. 2: II.
07. Sonata No. 3
08. Sonata No. 4: I.
09. Sonata No. 4: II.
10. Sonata No. 4: III.
11. Sonata No. 4: IV.
12. Sonata No. 5
13. Sonata No. 6
Antonii Baryshevskyi, piano