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LABELS: Col legno
WORKS: Cinq préludes fragiles; Estampes; Quatre poèmes, Op. 10; Masques; Synthèses
PERFORMER: Daniele Lombardi (piano)
Arthur Lourié briefly held office in the cultural ministry of the early Soviet Union, but absconded into exile in 1921, dying in New Jersey in 1963. In his earliest years he was one of the most radical musical minds of pre-Revolutionary Russia, close to such writers as Blok, Akhmatova and Mayakovsky, and quite as original as Roslavets in his harmonic language. The works in this generously filled recital were written between the ages of 16 and 25, testifying to the young composer’s abundant talent. They graphically illustrate how Lourié moved from Debussian impressionism in his earliest Préludes and Estampes to a cogent and effective development of Scriabin’s fevered chromaticism, resulting in a disturbed, fragmented idiom all of his own, most perfectly achieved in the eerie Masques and Synthèses of 1913-14 and the near-Cubist aesthetic of the Formes en l’air (1915), dedicated to Picasso. This is often striking and thought-provoking music, a singular contribution to the Russian piano repertoire, daringly different from the sculptured neo-classicism of Lourié’s later years in France and the USA, when he became a friend and advocate of Stravinsky. Daniele Lombardi, himself a composer and a dedicated researcher into Futurism, projects Lourié’s splintered moods with skill, sympathy and impressive delicacy of touch. Warmly recommended. Calum MacDonald