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James Harrington
American Record Guide, July 2016

I have no doubt that Walker’s series will replace Paley as the reference set for Balakirev and expect the journey towards its completion will be quite enjoyable. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2016

An outstanding concert pianist and distinguished conductor, Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev championed the music of others at the expense of his own compositions. Today he is the forgotten leader of ‘The Mighty Handful’, a group of Russian composers that included Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Mussorgsky, his name now hanging by a thread, Islamey being the only score we regularly find in the concert hall repertoire. That makes the present disc—the second in a series of his complete piano works—most valuable and desirable. It covers the period 1898 to 1906, the last sector of his life, and the one were he could, at long last, concentrate on composing. Having been much influenced by Chopin, he here uses the format and names the Polish composer had made familiar. Yet throughout his music is quintessentially Russian, often stormy, and expressed in a technically demanding language. The opening Valse di Bravura, a virtuoso showpiece, sets the scene for the remaining thirteen tracks, each of a length that allows him to develop the thematic material, often with considerable complexity. Throughout these are such pleasing scores, while such works as the fourth waltz, Valse de Concert, should be an absolute gift to today’s young pianists as the most exciting finale to a recital imaginable. The Nocturnes are mostly in a more restrained mood, and the gently lilting Chant du Pecheur is particularly  beautiful. Ending in the whirlwind and exhilarating seventh Waltz, the British pianist, Nicholas Walker, one of Balakirev’s foremost champions, is in every way superb, and I most strongly commend the disc to you. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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