A Fearful Fairy Tale (2019)

Bagri, Medtner, Schnittke, Janacek, Prokofiev, Firsova, Myaskovsky

Helena Basilova

DSD 512 Exclusive

A Fearful Fairy Tale is Helena Basilova’s latest solo album.  The album is dedicated to fairytales, a tribute to fantasy, and the unknown and all magical in our world. With works by Medtner, Prokofiev, Schnittke, and Myaskovsky the album depicts mystery and is used as a starting point to collaborate with other artists.

There are two words for truth in Russian: Pravda for objective truth and Ishtina for transcendental truth, that what you know but cannot explain. While Helena’s previous solo albums - with music from Janacek and Scriabin - were each in their own way quite personal to her, this time she wanted more Ishtina than Pravda. She wanted a story that was not just personal for her but representative of her. And Helena’s personal story is one of multitudes. Of departures and forgetting, discovery and loss, of glimmers of understanding, and feelings of coherence in oceans of confusing false certainties.

This collection of music is meant as a story in itself, each piece included for the power it has to forge a connection that needed the story to be forged. And so it was with the piece that inspired the album.

This album - of stories and a story in itself - is Helena’s tribute, to fairy tales and her homeland.

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Helena Basilova

Among the many clichés surrounding Russia, perhaps none is more persistent than a nostalgia Russians supposedly feel for a time they may never have known. Helena Basilova, born in Russia to two established pianists/composers but raised in The Netherlands, subverts all other stereotypes. But her personal history did – undeniably – instill her with a sense of melancholy. This wistfulness is never stronger than in her connection to Russian music and its widespread influence in (Eastern) Europe.

Though Helena performs repertoire from all periods and styles, her story has led her time and again to Russian composers such as Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Schnittke, Shostakovich, and Scriabin. Over the last few years, Helena dedicated herself to perform more unrevealed repertoire, discovering many treasures and focussing on collaborating with living composers such as Maxim Shalygin and Elena Firsova.

Besides a solo career that had Helena perform at halls as prestigious as The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Symphony Space NYC, the HPAC Japan and the NCPA in Mumbai, she has a profound love for chamber music. Her performance has ranged from Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time in New York City to Beethoven’s violin sonatas in San Antonio-Texas and David Lang’s Pierced with orchestra at the Blaricum Music Festival ’19. Playing solo with orchestras led Helena to collaborate with conductors such as Mathieu Herzog, Ari Pelto, Hans Vonk, Susanne Blumenthal, and Carel den Hertog.

To widen the scope and reach of classical music, Helena composed programs combining piano music with poetry, theater, philosophy, and visual arts and is always searching for new ways to bring music to the audience. Working closely with visuals collective DEFRAME Helena created various programs with live visuals to her performances and is currently collaborating on a new visual project around her latest album.

Her most personal project in 2018: publishing and recording the music of her late father Alexander Basilov, made Helena realize the importance of heritage and the passing on of tradition which influenced her choice of programs and projects for the upcoming seasons. Besides solo performances, future plans include the recording the Piano Preludes by Maxim Shalygin, concerts with her ensemble trio Basilova I Fridman I Napolov together with cellist Maya Fridman and percussionist Konstantyn Napolov and a project around John Cage with violinist Diamanda Dramm.

In 2016 Helena founded her own concert series in Amsterdam named Mevrouw de Uil organizing music nights in a monumental synagogue.

Helena Basilova has received scholarships from NYU, Nuffic, NFPK, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, Josepha Brouwer Scholarship Foundation and plays on a Steinway Grand Piano, kindly lent to her by the Dutch National Music Instrument Foundation. From September 2016 Helena works as a Piano Professor at the ArtEZ Conservatory in The Netherlands.

photo: by Isabel Hayn
from artists's website 'gallery' 

Maya Fridman

Born on November 7th, 1989 in Moscow, Russia, Maya Fridman is a talented young cellist residing in The Netherlands.

From her early years of playing the cello, Maya was recognized as a prodigy and was taken under the hood of the Foundation of Yuri Bashmet, where she took part in TV and radio programs. While studying at the Moscow State College of Music named after Alfred Schnittke, she was awarded as the First Prize Winner in the International Festival of Slavic Music among many other reputable awards.

In 2010, Maya has been granted admission at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where she studied under Dmity Ferschtman. Here, on the 10th of June, 2016, she successfully finished her Master’s Degree with honours.

During these six years of studying, Maya has participated in several masterclasses and has worked with artists such as David Geringas, Pieter Wispelwey, Gary Hoffman, Frances-Marie Uitti, Anner Bylsma, Ernst Reijseger, and many more.

For the last five years, Maya has been performing regularly in The Netherlands and Germany. Her projects include a successful collaboration with singer- songwriter Jyoti Verhoeff. In December 2013, Jyoti and Maya became finalists of the Grote Prijs van Nederland, where Maya was awarded the Best Musician of 2013 Prize.

She has also accompanied legendary guitar virtuoso Harry Sacksioni on his Jubileum tour and joined bands such as Faun and Cesair as a special guest.

Furthermore, Maya performs together with Aengus Hackett and Mauricio Ramirez under the name of Dinosaur Trio. Dinosaur plays a variety of rock, jazz and improvised music and has toured trough Ireland in the summer of 2014.

In 2015 she released her debut album The Invisible Link which she recorded together with Daniël Kool and released under TRPTK.

Her next album will feature her own arrangement of Prokofiev’s opera The Fiery Angel for cello and piano, on which she worked together with pianist Artem Belogurov. Her arrangement received an acknowledgement during her graduation exam and was nominated for the Amsterdam University of the Arts Graduation Prize 2016 as best work.

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A Fearful Fairy Tale (2019)

Bagri, Medtner, Schnittke, Janacek, Prokofiev, Firsova, Myaskovsky

Helena Basilova

Amplifiers: Hegel H30
Cables: Furutech custom microphone cables, LineFlux XLR, NanoFluc NCF, FS-a36
Digital Converters: Hapi, Merging Technologies
Editing Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Mastering Engineer: Brendon Heinst, Tom Caulfield (DSD 512)
Microphones: DPA 4006A, Sonodore RCM-402
Network Equipment: Furutech NCF Boosters, CAD Ground Control GC1, RTFS Acoustics, JCAT M12 Switch Gold, NET Card FEMTO
Notes: DSD 512 Stereo files created by Tom Caulfield at the NativeDSD Mastering Lab using Jussi Laako's latest EC modulators from Signalyst
Piano: Steinway Model D-274
Power Conditioners: Furutech
Producer: Brendon Heinst
Recording Engineer: Brendon Heinst, Ernst Spyckerelle
Recording Location: Muziekgebouw, Eindhoven on April 8-10, 2019
Recording Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD
Speakers: KEF Blade Two

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TTK0041: A Fearful Fairy Tale
00:59:57   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Fairy tale about the forgotten homeland - I. The first snow
Bagri
00:01:03   Select quality & channels above
2.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - I. Andante
Myaskovsky
00:02:21   Select quality & channels above
3.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - II. Un poco sostenuto, malinconico e abbandonamente
Myaskovsky
00:01:57   Select quality & channels above
4.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - III. Andante cantabile
Myaskovsky
00:01:08   Select quality & channels above
5.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - IV. Molto vivace e fantastico
Myaskovsky
00:02:24   Select quality & channels above
6.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - V. Molto calmo, ma non troppo lento
Myaskovsky
00:02:24   Select quality & channels above
7.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - VI. Vivo
Myaskovsky
00:02:42   Select quality & channels above
8.
Yellowed leaves, Op. 31 - VII. Moderato
Myaskovsky
00:03:48   Select quality & channels above
9.
A fearful fairy tale, Op. 171
Firsova
00:05:46   Select quality & channels above
10.
Tales of an old grandmother, Op. 31 - I. Moderato
Prokofiev
00:01:55   Select quality & channels above
11.
Tales of an old grandmother, Op. 31 - II. Andantino
Prokofiev
00:01:14   Select quality & channels above
12.
Pohadka (fairy tale), JW VII-5 - I. Con moto
Janacek
00:04:59   Select quality & channels above
13.
Pohadka (fairy tale), JW VII-5 - II. Con moto
Janacek
00:04:01   Select quality & channels above
14.
Pohadka (fairy tale), JW VII-5 - III. Allegro
Janacek
00:02:36   Select quality & channels above
15.
Piano sonata No. 1, Op. 129 - I. Largo
Schnittke
00:06:24   Select quality & channels above
16.
Three tales, Op. 9 - II. Allegro alla serenata, con alcuna licenza
Medtner
00:04:07   Select quality & channels above
17.
Four tales, Op. 34 - II. Allegro cantabile e leggiero
Medtner
00:02:30   Select quality & channels above
18.
Four tales, Op. 26 - III. Narrante a piacere
Medtner
00:02:26   Select quality & channels above
19.
Two tales, Op. 20 - II. Pesante. Minaccioso
Medtner
00:04:03   Select quality & channels above
20.
Fairy tale about the forgotten homeland - II. Winter dance
Bagri
00:02:09   Select quality & channels above

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