Sunday, July 5, 2015

Nikolai Demidenko Plays Scriabin & Prokofiev

This is special — very special. Demidenko clearly has an extraordinary affinity and affection for the music of Scriabin and this is nowhere more apparent than in his extraordinarily beautiful performance of the Second Piano Sonata (Sonata-fantasy, Op. 19). The first movement (surely one of the most gorgeous movements Scriabin ever wrote) lives and breathes in the hands of this young virtuoso. His tone gradation and dynamic nuances are perfectly judged, and the ebb and flow and surging climaxes of what Scriabin called ''a vision of the sea remembered'' are superbly crafted. The Scriabin scholar Donald Garvelmann has described the tender lyrical second subject as expanding ''from bud to full bloom like time-lapse photography'' — a poetic simile brought unerringly to life in Demidenko's exquisitely tender and spine-tingling performance. His breathtaking account of the second movement, an exhilarating Presto in 3/4 time, is a subtle blend of precision and poetry, and one constantly marvels at his delicate and expressive pedalling.
The six etudes and the Four Pieces, Op. 51 that follow confirm just how consummate a Scriabin interpreter Demidenko is ; each miniature being beautifully crafted and jewelled to perfection. The Ninth Sonata is given a spacious though tightly controlled and cogent performance. Perhaps Demidenko doesn't quite achieve the satanic thrill as some performances — Ponti's Vox recording from the 1970s (nla) or Horowitz's 1965 CBS recording come to mind — but here there is greater subtlety and wider nuance coupled with an impressive overall conception of the work. The remaining Scriabin item Vers la flamme (musically perhaps Scriabin's most extraordinary work) is described marvellously in the excellent accompanying notes (by Ates Orga and Nikolai Demidenko) as ''a single emotional crescendo without pause from the first note to the last''. Indeed, it is an extraordinarily intense and elevating experience that places immense demands on the pianist's resources during its relatively short duration. Again, I could sight pianists who play this with more demonic frisson — Gordon FergusThompson for one in his splendid recording for Kingdom — but Demidenko plays with a burning inner intensity I find hard to resist.
With barely time to recover from the all consuming flames of the Scriabin we are confronted with a performance of Prokofiev's Visions fugitives that I can only describe as magical and compelling. In February I had the pleasure of reviewing Boris Berman's stunning performance on Chandos, but I have to admit that Demidenko's performance stands in a class of its own. Each flighting vision is irridescent with inspiration, and for sheer sonority, colour and tonal variation quite simply the finest on disc.
The recording, made at The Maltings, Snape is immaculate and faultless. A remarkable debut recording.'

Source :

Nikolai Demidenko


Alexander Scriabin

Sonata Fantasy n° 2, Op. 19
1 I. Andante  8:41
2 II. Presto  3:41

Six Studies
3 Etude Op. 8 n° 2 in F-Sharp Minor. A capriccio, con forza  1:56
4 Etude Op. 8 n° 4 in B Major. Piacevole  1:56
5 Etude Op. 8 n° 5 in E Major. Briosos  2:26
6 Etude Op. 42 n° 3 in F-Sharp Major. Prestissimo  1:01
7 Etude Op. 42 n° 4 jn F-Sharp Major. Andante  3:12
8 Etude Op. 42 n° 7 in F Minor. Agitato  1:19

Four Pieces Op. 51
9 N° 1. Fragilité. Allegretto  2:48
10 N° 2. Prélude. Lugubre  2:53
11 N° 3. Poème ailé  1:09
12 N° 4. Danse languide  2:09

13 Piano Sonata n° 9 Op. 68  9:16
Moderato quasi andante
Molto meno vivo - Allegro
Allegro molto - Alla marcia - Più vivo
Allegro - Più vivo - Tempo I

14 Vers la flamme. Poème Op. 72  5:24
Allegro moderato - Eclatant, lumineux

Sergei Prokofiev

Visions fugitives, Op. 22
15 N° 1. Lentamente  1:28
16 N° 2. Andante  1:45
17 N° 3. Allegretto  0:45
18 N° 4. Animato - Più sostento  1:05
19 N° 5. Molto giocoso  0:22
20 N° 6. Con eleganza  0:24
21 N° 7. (Harp) Pittoresco  2:31
22 N° 8. Commodo - Meno mosso  0:56
23 N° 9. Allegretto tranquillo  0:55
24 N° 10. Ridicolosamente  0:58
25 N° 11. Con vivacità  1:13
26 N° 12. Assai moderato  1:45
27 N° 13. Allegretto  0:51
28 N° 14. Feroce  0:58
29 N° 15. Inquieto  0:42
30 N° 16. Dolente  2:21
31 N° 17. Poetico  1:12
32 N° 18. Con una dolce lentezza  1:23
33 N° 19. Presto agitatissimo e molto accentuato  0:45
34 N° 20. Lento  2:08


Nikolai Demidenko - p

Recorded in Snape Maltings, Suffolk ; December 5/6 & May 19/30, 1990

1 comment:

Melanchthon said...