Storyteller - Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin (2019)

Scriabin, Liszt, Chopin

Anna Fedorova

DSD 512 Exclusive

In earlier days these were the literary genres one could only encounter in folklore music. That is, until Chopin, Liszt and Scriabin introduced them in classical music! On my album ‘Storyteller’ I focus on these three composers – how they explored those poetic genres and how their compositions reflect the actual literary texts that inspired them.

The album starts with Frédéric Chopin’s four Ballades, which are among my most beloved pieces to perform. Apart from being incredibly beautiful and emotionally powerful, the ballades have a heroic narrative element as if telling the story of a medieval legend. They also have a distinctive dance element, possibly coming from the old Italian ballata.

Each ballade holds its own unique world and unique story. Chopin was a pioneer of this genre, and he served as an inspiration for composers such as Liszt and Brahms, who (shortly after Chopin) wrote ballades of their own. In his letters, Chopin often mentioned that the main inspiration for his ballades, were the ballades of a poet: the wonderful Adam Mickiewicz from Poland. There are ongoing disputes about which particular ballades by Mickiewicz inspired Chopin. Some say that Mickiewicz’s ‘Switezianka’, (Nymph of Lake Switez) was the inspiration for his third Ballade, while others say it inspired his second.

In addition, there are theories that the novel in verse ‘Konrad Wallenrod’ was the inspiration for Chopin’s first Ballade. We cannot know for sure, but what is certain is that Adam Mickiewicz had a strong influence on Chopin. When reading his poems one can sense a resemblance to the musical style of Chopin’s compositions.

The ‘Tre Sonetti del Petrarca’ (Three Sonnets of Petrarch) by Franz Liszt belong to the second year of his Années de Pèlerinage (years of pilgrimage): Italie. These three poetic pieces were written after Petrarca’s sonnets numbers 47, 104 and 123. The pieces are very intimate and lyrical, and some of the climaxes even remind me of Italian opera! In all three sonnets Petrarca writes of his love for his beloved Laura.

Alexander Scriabin introduced the genre of poems as piano miniatures. For the closing of the album I chose two of his musical poems, Opus 32 and the Sonata no.4 Opus 30. Opus 32 are a couple of poetic sketches reflecting two states of the soul: one blissful and meditative, the other of all-consuming ecstasy! Scriabin found his unique way of expressing blissful contemplation and unstoppable, explosive creative energy. These are the two poles of his creative nature. In his Sonata No. 4, Scriabin provided a poem in prose that he himself wrote, flying towards a wish, a star, as his object of desire. It opens with a very serene, poetic first movement, which proceeds into a mad dance, liberation, and flight of exaltation that ends with an absolutely ecstatic and overwhelming coda!

Apart from having a connection with literature, the title ‘Storyteller’ has a deeper meaning for me, since as a performing musician this is what one should do – tell the stories to the listeners with fingers and emotions. It’s just instead of words we are using music.

– Anna Fedorova, pianist

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Anna Fedorova

Anna Fedorova is one of the world's premier pianists. From an early age, she demonstrated an innate musical maturity and outstanding technical abilities. Her international concert career took off while she was only a child, and audiences around the world were stunned by the depth and power of her musical expression. Critics have praised Anna's signature “sweet modesty and wild expression,” which rendered listeners “completely taken by surprise, compelled and astonished.”

Anna has claimed top prizes at numerous international piano competitions, including the International Rubinstein 'In Memoriam' piano competition, the Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for young pianists, the Lyon Piano Competition, and recently became recipient of the Verbier Festival Academy Award. She is also two-time laureate of the Dorothy MacKenzie Artist Recognition Scholarship Award at the International Keyboards Institute & Festival (New York, USA). A graduate of the Lysenko School of Music in Kyiv (studio of Borys Fedorov), Anna is currently a student of Norma Fisher at the Royal College of Music in London, she is David Young Piano Prize Holder supported by a Soiree d’Or Award and Keyboard Trust. Additionally, Anna studies at the prestigious Accademia Pianistica in Imola, Italy under professor Leonid Margarius. She has also received artistic guidance from world renowned pianists such as Alfred Brendel and Menahem Pressler, and is regularly mentored by Steven Isserlis and Andras Schiff.

She has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls of Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Having mastered a formidable concerto repertoire, she played with orchestras around the world.

In September 2013 Anna performed Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto at the opening of the season of Sunday Morning Concerts series at the Great hall of the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. The recording of this concert has 19 million views on YouTube so far and is highly praised among renowned musicians. It is the Concerto with the most views on YouTube:

photo: Marco Borggreve

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Storyteller - Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin (2019)

Scriabin, Liszt, Chopin

Anna Fedorova

    Classics Today

(…) Somehow the looser-knit Liszt Petrarch Sonnets inspire Fedorova’s most engaging pianism and persuasive interpretations. (…)

Jed Distler

    BBC Music Magazine -

(…) Most pertinently, ‘poetic’ is the best description for all of Fedorova’s playing.

John Allison

    Het Parool

Alle gradaties van emotie (…) De Russiche pianiste Anna Fedorova voelt het. Zij speelt de Ballades exemplarisch (…) Storyteller heet Federova’s cd. Die titel maakt ze volledig waar.

Eric Voermans

    Music Frames

In een adembenemende souplesse vertelt pianiste?Anna Fedorova?haar muzikale verhaal op ‘Storyteller’(…) Haar virtuositeit klinkt zo vanzelfsprekend dat je amper in de gaten hebt naar wat voor een talent je eigenlijk luistert. Subliem! In a breathtaking flexibility, pianist?Anna Fedorova?tells her musical story on ‘Storyteller’ (…) Her virtuosity sounds so obvious that you barely notice what kind of talent you are actually listening to. Sublime!

Mattie Poels

    Opus Klassiek

(…) Fedorova is een stertalent dat uitgelezen spanningsbogen trekt, de muziek volop laat ademen, fijnzinnige rubati en accelerandi in haar bagage heeft, buitengewoon fraai fraseert en ritmiek en harmonie mede het verhaal laat vertellen. (…)

Aart van der Wal

Storyteller - Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin (2019)

Scriabin, Liszt, Chopin

Anna Fedorova

Cables: Van den Hul
Digital Converters: Horus, Merging Technologies
Editing Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis, custom design
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: MCO Hilversum, The Netherlands
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 256
Speakers: Grimm LS1

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42219: Storyteller - Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin
01:10:09   Select quality & channels above
Ballade No. 1 Op. 23
00:09:41   N/A
Ballade No. 2 Op. 38
00:07:32   N/A
Ballade No. 3 Op. 47
00:07:43   N/A
Ballade No. 4 Op. 52
00:11:41   N/A
Three Petrarch Sonnets - No. 47
00:05:42   N/A
Three Petrarch Sonnets - No. 104
00:05:58   N/A
Three Petrarch Sonnets - No. 123
00:06:27   N/A
Two Poems Op. 32 - Andante cantabile
00:03:25   N/A
Two Poems Op. 32 - Allegro
00:03:09   N/A
Sonata No. 4 op. 30 - Andante
00:03:18   N/A
Sonata No. 4 op. 30 - Prestissimo volando
00:05:33   N/A

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