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Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, May 2017

Inga Fiolia certainly brings out its virtues. Offering grace, clarity, and just the right measure of sweetness, she neither condescends to the music nor tries to wrench more from it than it requires. Her phrasing is elegant and her rubato artful. Her touch is sensitive, too: her legato can be exquisite (especially important for music that has such operatic underpinnings), but her staccatos can be finely judged as well (listen to the bass lines at the end of theme in the Alyabyev set). The results are consistently charming—and while listening attentively to the whole disc at a single sitting might be more mere pleasantry than you can take, it’s hard to imagine performances that would do better at holding your attention. © 2017 Fanfare




International Piano, May 2017

Georgian-born prodigy Inga Fiolia is the perfect guide to Glinka’s piano music. Her technique is solid and fluent, and she is clearly attuned to Glinka’s mode of expression; she has an ability to spin webs of beautiful sound as well as to negotiatie the trickiest legerdemain.

Fiolia plays the opening Variations on an Original Theme in F (1824) with great delicacy and charm in the Cherubini Variations, while in the Anne Bolena Variations she captures the essence of bel canto beautifully. © 2017 International Piano Read complete review



Geoffrey Norris
Gramophone, April 2017

In this first volume of a projected series of Glinka’s piano music the Georgian-born pianist Inga Fiolia has the right sort of perky spirit, charm and deftness of technique to give some idea of how those salons might have swooned and sighed in admiration at Glinka’s gifts. But whether their reaction would have been the same if they had had to listen to all the sets of variations in one go is a moot point. The most ambitious (and among the longest) are the variations on themes from Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, the latter triggered by Glinka’s attendance at the opera’s Milan premiere in 1830, when he ‘wallowed in rapture’. However, for all the tinselled titivation of Glinka’s piano-writing, it is hard to view these variations as much more than youthful jeux d’esprits—until, that is, the variations on Alyabyev’s song ‘The Nightingale’ of 1833 which, in its Russian inflection, might justifiably be considered to have acorn status. © 2017 Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2017

Take away the vivacious overture to his opera, Ruslan and Ludmila, and how much music from the Russian composer, Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka, do you really know? For instance, did you know that this person, pampered by his family from birth, was a composer of piano music, having received keyboard lessons as a teenager? For his mature years he led the life of a dilettante, and though he has been credited as one of the fathers of Russian music in the nineteenth century, his output was small, and, as this disc shows, was often dependent on a mix of influences from Paris, Berlin, Milan and Vienna, all places where he dallied on his affluent nomadic life. The present disc of music, written through much of his life, gives testimony to that backdrop, the nine sets of Variations using themes from operas by Cherubini, Donizetti, Mozart and Bellini together with his own themes and folk melodies. Though there are occasional flights of fantasy that demand a brilliant technique, the content is rather quiet and often withdrawn, as if extemporising for Glinka’s own pleasure. It is his chosen theme from Bellini’s, I Caputeti E I Montecchi, that sparked his greatest interest on the disc, but his problem throughout is an ability to write interestingly for the right hand, but the left hand has little other than a perfunctory role of a basic accompaniment. As much could be performed by amateur pianists, it is to Inga Fiolia’s credit that she retains our attention throughout. Born in Georgia and a multiple prizewinner, she enjoys a busy international career, this being her debut for Grand Piano. The sound engineering is of high quality, and I guess there are another four volumes to come. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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