The Suite No 4, Op 62 was published in 1901, the year Arensky left the Imperial Chapel, and belongs to his final period as a composer. Despite his heavy drinking and failing health, there was no weakening of his powers as a composer. Indeed, this Suite is the most harmonically adventurous of the four, especially in the opening Prélude
. The Romance
is perhaps the only movement which looks back to the earlier Suites. As in the First Suite, he takes a simple melody and surrounds it with sparkling passagework. The third movement, Le Rêve
(The Dream), has a strangely moving beauty, all the more surprising as it contains hardly any melody. Even when finally a tune does appear it seems not to know where it is going and quickly fades away. Arensky shows a special talent for final movements, and this Suite has one of the best. The piano-writing is reminiscent of Chopin, again a strangely nostalgic feature which seems to be recalling the influences of Arensky’s youth that led to his earliest major work, his ‘Chopinesque’ Piano Concerto, Op 2, which he wrote as a young man of twenty.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 1994