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Michel Dutrieue
Stretto, June 2020

A discovery! © 2020 Stretto

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2020

Born into an affluent Russian-Jewish family, Adolf Barjansky moved in the early 1870’s to study in Leipzig, Vienna and Paris, returning to his native Odessa in 1890.

As a composer his output was modest, and were mainly for piano, this disc being the first in a complete survey of his complete keyboard pieces, the opening of the Fantasy Pieces placing him among the outstanding composers of his time, and very much as a forebearer of Rachmaninov. There are six in all, quite short in length, but creating a kaleidoscope of moods, ending, rather unexpectedly, in a floatingly peaceful world, the dynamic rarely above pianissimo. Composed two years earlier, in 1893, the First Piano Sonata is in the four-movement classical tradition with a scherzo as the third. Barjansky was obviously never short of thematic material, the first movement oscillating between drama and quietude; the following Maestoso full of gravitas immediately off-set by a playful Presto. To this Julia Severus’s performance adds a Schubertian weight in the final Allegro. Musical pictures largely dominate the 6 Piano Pieces, the waves delineated in the opening ‘Near the Sea’; ‘Remembrance’ full of nostalgia that is forgotten in a rocking ‘Lullaby’.All too brief, the Scherzo takes us to ‘A Happy Home’ and finally a sentimental ‘Devotion’. Severus is a highly persuasive advocate in this first release of Barjansky's complete music for solo piano. The German sound quality is outstanding. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Records International, June 2020

Barjansky was born in Odessa into a wealthy Russian-Jewish family, and received his musical education in Vienna, Paris and Leipzig, studying piano with Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn. Barjansky composed relatively few works, but his highly attractive and original piano music reveals the influence of Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms with a wealth of Russian color, as heard in the Fantasy Pieces. The 6 Pieces are impressionistic and radiant, while the large-scale sonata uses spatial sound as a principal means of expression, blending it with a highly modern simplicity and transparency of structure that anticipates 20th-century minimalism. © 2020 Records International

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