Brilliantly utilizing the full extent of the piano’s capabilities, this music is not simply “pianist’s music.” Exotic scales and modal passages, “rhythmic counterpoint” (the famous “interpoint” invented and coined by the composer himself), agile and inventive polyphony, the relentless vein of Slavic melodies, combine to build an entirely resonant private world. The influence of Mussorgsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky appear frequently, but layered over this throwback to Russian musical influences is an elegance and panache that is uniquely Parisian, like the sheen of lacquer on a Russian box, an enduring reminder of what France meant for this citizen of the world.
Like his three compatriots, he excels in finding the most appropriate musical equivalent of a being, an act or a situation, and this capacity to sketch something musically is enhanced by a dazzling wit. The interpreter of this music emerges as a juggler of ivory, the glass animals in a display cabinet are the pretext of musical tales designed upon the sketches of these figures, recounting their differences with a dazzling wit, a pen whose virtuosity recalls the flamboyancy of Petrushka.
How can one resist the melodious chirping of Chant, contrasting with the contrapuntal and rhythmic abundance of his Refrain (an absolute masterpiece), the religious hymns or the folk songs (the unforgettable Volga Boatmen), the cowbells in remembrance of Mussorgsky with the presentiment of Messiaen.
Giorgio Koukl pairs a solid robustness to a palette of rich and subtle timbres; well supported by dexterous fingers, there are clues from the outset of his pianistic fireworks, after the less exciting works contained in the previous volume of Tcherepnin’s keyboard works. © 2014 Classica
Translated from French by Naxos