One of the Great Russian pianists of our time in a new studio recording of sparkling sonatas by a contemporary of Beethoven.
Alexei Lubimov has long been renowned for his beautifully weighted and persuasive performances of new music, especially from his native Russia, by post-Soviet composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke and Valentin Silvestrov. He is a restless seeker after beauty in music wherever it may be found, equally at home in music as diverse as Chopin, Debussy, Pärt and Cage. His interest in historically relevant instruments for historical repertoire stretches back decades to a time, especially in the Soviet Union, when such an interest was unusual and even eccentric to some, but Lubimov has always been a pianist of profound integrity who goes his own way without regard to passing fashions.
It is in this capacity, as a fortepianist, that Lubimov has made a distinguished contribution to the ongoing Brilliant Classics series dedicated to the complete sonatas of Jan Ladislav Dussek. As he writes in a characteristically illiuminating booklet essay, the two sonatas Op.44 and Op.77 belong to the mature and most original of Dussek’s works. Composed in 1799, Op.44 is a truly fin-de-siècle work, not coincidentally subtitled ‘Farewell’, with bold modulations that cast their gaze forward into a vision of the Romantic age as much as the rhetorical structures belong to the Classical era of Haydn and Mozart.
The emotional candour, the romantic impulse and the depressive melancholy in Dussek’s presentiment of his coming death make the Op.77 Sonata (L’Invocation’) an even more entrancing anticipation of the world of Chopin. For a fusion of Baroque gestures, Classical sonata forms, novelty and expression of the melodic contours, the richness of the piano writing and the boldness in the use of all possible resources of the instrument, there’s no-one quite like Dussek, and Alexei Lubimov is a peerless exponent of his expressive world.