For his new album Four Pianos, the pianist Alexander Melnikov plays four different historic pianos for each of the four works he plays – Schubert’s Wanderer-Fantasie, Chopin’s Douze Études, Liszt’s Grande Fantaisie, and Stravinsky’s Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka.

Alexander Melnikov. Photo © Julien Mignot

What was the inspiration for the project? Was it primarily the instruments, or was it the works?

I have long been fascinated by historical pianos. While exploring the possibilities of some of them, it seemed natural to look at several cornerstone pieces of the repertoire. At the time of their creation, these works acquired the reputation of being virtually unplayable because of the difficulty of their pianistic demands. Later, having got rid of this reputation, they became the staples of the virtuoso literature, inevitably losing their aura of novelty in the process. This recording has no ambition of being ‘historically correct’ in any way. The...

Sorry, but you need to LOG IN to read the rest of this content. If you're an existing magazine subscriber, please CONTACT US for your complimentary access on with your subscriber ID or the name and postal address for the subscription.