The short-lived Russian pianist and composer Alexey Stanchinsky (1888-1914) was playing in public by age six and was highly regarded in all the musical activities he undertook; he had some distinguished tutors, too. Sadly, Stanchinsky became “unstable”, and his death – he was found by a lake having wandered off – remains a mystery.
His piano music is well-worth exploring – as championed charismatically by Peter Jablonski, very well recorded, too – and will appeal to any piano-fancier who relishes the early output of Scriabin and Rachmaninov, as well as Chopin at his most introspective. Stanchinsky’s musical development is intriguing, too.
There are thirty-two tracks here, including a passionate and twisty one-movement Sonata in E-flat minor. All is attractive, expressive and engaging – whether Nocturne, Prelude, Mazurka, Song Without Words, Variations or Sketch – with a propensity for romantic charm, soulfulness, picturesqueness, restlessness and full-on turbulence, as well as some harmonic exploration, without ever becoming predictable. Indeed, Stanchinsky’s troubled disposition can be heard simmering, or more nakedly, in his music, which keeps the listener on his or her toes, while Jablonski’s labour-of-love playing makes for the aural equivalent of a seventy-four-minute page-turner. Ondine ODE 1383-2.