, October 2011
The Grieg-like lyric pieces of volume 1 have been replaced by more impressionistic and harmonically ambiguous items, particularly in the last four or five, where the influence of Szymanowski’s now published early piano pieces can be heard. Nevertheless, there is still everywhere lovely melody in abundance, and echoes of Chopin are still apparent. Like Chopin and Szymanowski, Čiurlionis can pack an awful lot of music—and not necessarily notes—into two minutes.
The only substantial work length-wise is a filler, but a fine one: an intelligent transcription of Čiurlionis’s incomplete but attractive String Quartet by Rubackyte herself. The String Quartet has been recorded once before in its original form, by the Vilnius Quartet on a 1998 Russian Disc release (10008), a 48-minute recording of the composer’s ‘Complete String Quartet Music’.
As there is no mention of re-mastering, the Naxos volumes are presumably undoctored 1993 recordings. Sound quality is very good, if perhaps mildly tinny. A good five seconds of silence have thoughtfully been allowed at the ends of tracks…
Čiurlionis’s piano music is a fair bit more straightforward than that of Liszt or Shostakovich, admittedly, but she nevertheless pays it great respect and her lovely lyrical tone, discipline and expressiveness ensure a persuasive performance. What would be good would be for Naxos to now ask her to record the rest of Čiurlionis’s worthy piano music.