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COMPOSERS: Alexandrov
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 3; Piano Sonata No. 4,
PERFORMER: Hamish Milne (piano)
Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov died, in his nineties, in 1982. He was a pupil of Taneyev and took Medtner as his mentor, both considered conservative composers. But Alexandrov seems to have been a troubled soul, torn between progressive and retrospective influences, and he even experimented with the 12-note method. He wrote 14 piano sonatas, of which the third, composed in 1920, ranges from lean counterpoint to luscious complexity, with a central Interlude strongly reminiscent of Medtner. The Fourth Sonata is passionately Romantic, yet with some strangely gritty dissonances which cast doubt on its optimism. Alexandrov said that scepticism in his music never emerged victorious. The two Visions, written when he was 90, are exploratory and not at all Romantic, and some of the pieces written before and during the First World War are interestingly exploratory. In the end, it’s difficult to come to an easy conclusion about this forgotten figure, the victim of Soviet cultural politics. Hamish Milne, a Russian specialist, plays with evident conviction and his customary power. The recording is excellent and the booklet notes are helpful. Adrian Jack