Tchaikovsky: Morceaux, Opp. 10 & 19; Marche slave; Three Song Transcriptions, Op. 16; Dumka, Op. 59; Romance in F minor. Op. 5

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Morceaux, Opp. 10 & 19; Marche slave; Three Song Transcriptions, Op. 16; Dumka, Op. 59; Romance in F minor. Op. 5
PERFORMER: Oxana Yablonskaya (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553330
Tchaikovsky’s piano music opens a door on to a world considerably different from that of his symphonies: this is the Tchaikovsky of the hearth, an intimate art for an intimate setting. His piano works are often denigrated by comparison with his orchestral music, but the pieces here, taken on their own terms, are mostly small gems of clear texture, grace and strongly Russian melancholy and charm. Several — notably the Romance in F minor — will be familiar; others are hardly ever played (though in the solitary case of the transcription of the Marche slave, perhaps that’s no bad thing). OxanaYablonskaya, who studied with Alexander Goldenweiser andTatiana Nikolayeva, has the best of Russian School pedigrees, and in the tender, wistful, melancholy music her playing is glorious — songful, evocative and atmospheric. In line with the Russian tradition, the music is layered and voiced superbly, the phrases shaped like those of a singer. I find her less convincing, however, when the tempo and volume rise: she tends to become severe, harsh and humourless, lacking the joyful elan surely required at such moments. Nevertheless, there is much pleasure to be gained from this disc. Jessica Duchen

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