In an age when we can access so much music through streaming platforms and the cloud it is difficult to imagine how a totalitarian regime could bury artists so effectively that it takes a century for their legacy to re-emerge. 

Peter Jablonski

Alexey Stanchinsky’s (1888-1914) short and tragic life ended three years before the Russian Revolution but only four of his works were published while he was alive. Plagued by mental health illness and denied access to his lover and their son, he destroyed (or tried to) many of his early pieces. Some were reconstructed by friends from memory. Handwritten copies were circulated and Prokofiev wrote an admiring review of the first four of the Twelve Sketches. The complete edition of his piano music only appeared in Russia in 1990. His champion Nikolay Zhilyaev was murdered by the Stalinist regime.

This album by Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski should help to reinstate this forgotten genius, friend of Scriabin and influencer of Shostakovich among others. What is immediately apparent from the opening track, the Sonata in E Flat, written when he was 18, is his mastery of wonderful melodies and faultless counterpoint (he was a pupil of Sergey Taneyev). The sketches of 1911 and 1913 show an experimental and original mind at work and we can only imagine what this 26-year-old composer might have gone on to achieve.

Russian pianist Olga Solovieva is recording his works on the Grand Piano label and you can find two of his later sonatas on YouTube performed by Daniel Blumenthal.

Listen on Apple Music.

Composer/Title: Stanchinksy
Work(s): Piano Works
Performer(s): Peter Jablonski
Label: Ondine ODE1383-2

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