"Although I learnt Islamey as a student, it was many years before I began to examine Balakirev’s other works, a rich revelation of Russian subtlety, virtuosity and poetry. By recording his complete works I hope to restore this neglected composer to his rightful place. Over time I have discovered some new works, including the Sonata op.3 on this disc, and been astonished that one never tires of his music: the more one plays it, the more one sees in it."

Nicholas Walker

© HNH International

Balakirev’s Sonata in B flat minor, Op. 5 (1905) is the summit of his ambition to create a work that expresses the entire history of Russia. This highly original and most moving of all Russian sonatas encapsulates all three Sonatas, having begun life as the Grande Sonate, Op. 3 (1855), here recorded for the first time, subsequently becoming the First Sonata (1856). This recording of the Sonata, Op. 5 is the first to have been made from the original manuscript, without the mistakes to be found in the two published scores.



soNAtA IN B fLAt MINoR (1905) (24:27)
1  Andantino (06:23)
2  Mazurka: Moderato (05:14)
3  Intermezzo: Larghetto (04:18)
4  Finale: Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco (08:32)

soNAtA IN B fLAt MINoR, op. 5 (1856) (pREMIÈRE soNAtE) (20:46)
9  Andante – Allegro assai, feroce (10:52)
10  Mazurka: Tempo di mazurka (03:53)
11  Andante (06:01)

soNAtA IN B fLAt MINoR, op. 3 (1855) (GRANdE soNAtE) * (31:10)
13  Allegro feroce (12:00)
14  Mazurka (03:52)
15  Andante (08:12)
16  Finale: Allegro grazioso (06:22)
17  Epilogue: Fuga (00:44)

* World Première Recordings



Nicholas Walker
© Richard Hall

Nicholas Walker studied at the Royal academy of music and the Moscow Conservatory. Winner of the first Newport International Piano competition, he has performed with major British Orchestras, given recitals worldwide, and recorded for the BBC, BMG Arte Nova, ASV, Chandos and Danacord labels. He is also sought after as an imaginative and sensitive accompanist. Although his Beethoven performances have brought him special critical acclaim, and his performances of lyrical and late romantic piano music have also been highly praised, he is best known for championing the neglected leader of ‘The Mighty Handful’, Mili Alekseyevich Balakirev. In 2010 he organized the Balakirev Centenary concerts in London. He also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music.

"Walker proved to be the nearest thing to a natural Balakirev performer I have heard in a long while."Financial Times

Watch Nicholas Walker play: Sonata in B flat minor 

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