Of Lands and People Far Away (Sergei Kvitko)

Of Lands and People Far Away (Sergei Kvitko)


Pianist Sergei Kvitko performs works by Schumann, Debussy and Mussorgsky

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Kinderszenen, Op. 15 by Robert Schumann
Children's Corner by Claude Debussy
Pictures at an exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky


This is masterful, intuitive playing, albeit not without some interesting quirks. His program is united by a pianism that embraces the instrument as an ensemble of strings, as opposed to a row of hammers. You almost never hear the front of the attack; everything has a plangent profile and a cantabile momentum. Perhaps the most arresting artistry occurs in the quiet, slower moments in the Schumann, where Kvitko finds profound poetry. He is never in a rush, and so his “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk” is almost a slow dance, and the cattle cart in Mussorgsky’s “Bydlo” lumbers as lugubriously as I have ever heard it. This is an interpretive choice, not a safe one. When the material calls for alacrity and tension, such as in the mad rush to the “Great Gates of Kiev,” Kvitko delivers. There is, elsewhere, an iconoclastic sense for rubato rhythm and phrasing, but never in a self-serving way. Kvitko loves the music more than he loves himself. FANFARE MAGAZINE

"I have to add this recording of Pictures at an Exhibition to my collection. It belongs among the best ever made" - AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE