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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67328
Recording details: October 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: May 2002
Total duration: 7 minutes 47 seconds

'Hamish Milne’s poetic insight comes as no surprise … This is rather a find … Civilised, rewarding listening, warmly recommended to anyone for whom aesthetic novelty matters less than purely musical value' (Gramophone)

'Sumptuous recording, with brilliant and thoughtful playing by Hamish Milne … Piano enthusiasts looking for new material – especially those interested in Russian music – will certainly enjoy this' (American Record Guide)

'This is altogether exceptional playing … it made me want to dust down my two volumes of Alexandrov's music and take them straight to the piano to find out what other treasures they have in store. May it please be the first of several' (International Record Review)

'Hamish Milne, on this new Hyperion release is a persuasive advocate for this music … Recommended? But of course, and let’s hope that more Alexandrov appears, and soon' (Fanfare, USA)

'Imagine a cab ride where the driver is in the same league as Formula One driver Michael Schumacher. There’s something similar to be said for this Hyperion release, in which we have the privilege to hear a forgotten but phenomenal composer through the mind of such a distinguished and world-class pianist as Hamish Milne' (Pianist)

'Milne expounds all this music … with evident affection and belief, and with all the musicality and technical mastery it demands, in an absolutely first-rate recording' (International Piano)

'Hamish Milne believes in this music 125 percent, and he sails through the composer’s daunting challenges with complete technical command and a gorgeous tone to match' (

'On a envie de remercier le pianiste Hamish Milne pour son interprétation magnifique, très soignée, et surtout pour nous permettre de découvrir une musique aussi belle, doucement expressive et envoûtante’ (Répertoire, France)

Three Studies, Op 31

Veloce  [1'18]
Andante con moto  [3'30]
Sordamente  [2'59]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
During the 1920s Alexandrov fought out within himself the battle for the future of musical aesthetics, before externally this battle became more widespread. He made continued attempts to free himself more and more from the Classical-Romantic tradition (see the piano pieces of Op 27), but his basically late-Romantic stance is almost always evident – as, for example, in the technically (for the pianist) very demanding Three Studies Op 31, of 1925, where the emotional, tritone-suffused last piece takes up the Russian tradition of imitating the mighty sound of bells. The at times unusual sound world of these works is merely imposed on basically traditional musical thoughts. Three decades later Alexandrov wrote about this period: “The impact of ‘modernism’ in my work was at this time, as it had been previously, very experimental, and reflected very little the essential facets of my musical philosophy”. Leonid Sabaneyev recognized this conflict most astutely, but rightly stressed that the value of this music was in no way dependent on its compositional style:

Alexandrov possesses simultaneously the typical characteristics of both the academy and the salon. He is without doubt a composer who is concerned with style and whose compositional technique is perfect. There are no particular innovations in the dreams of this art, which is tightly locked in a world of old traditions, and in which occasional concessions to the modern era sometimes ring out shyly. […] Located somewhere between the two extremes of the innovators and the extreme conservatives, he is held in equal esteem by both camps. A certain anaemic quality, a lack of fiery emotion, a rational approach to composition, that is neither hot nor cold but lukewarm, distinguishes his lyricism from that of Rachmaninov. […] Yet Alexandrov must be considered as one of the most powerful composers of our time and on a par with Myaskovsky, who is likewise little tempted by innovation and is equally devoted to the unwritten rules of ‘old music’.

from notes by Christoph Flamm © 2002
English: Roland Smithers

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