The Suite No 3, Op 33 is a set of nine variations on an original theme and was completed in 1894, Arensky’s most prolific year as a composer. In addition to this Suite he composed his opera Rafael
, his Second String Quartet, various solo piano works and his still-performed Piano Trio No 1 in D minor. 1894 also marked Arensky’s departure from Moscow to take up his post at the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. The Third Suite is technically the most demanding and best shows off Arensky’s talent as a miniaturist. In addition to a familiar waltz movement, it contains two dances from earlier centuries, a minuet and a gavotte—although the piano writing is decidedly that of the nineteenth-century virtuoso school. As with the First Suite Arensky finishes with another very fine, and very difficult, Polonaise.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 1994