DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Andrey Gugnin Takes Shostakovich To Dizzying Speeds And Contemplative Heights

By Norman Lebrecht on September 20, 2019

Andrey Gugnin plays Shostakovich' Preludes & Piano Sonatas
Andrey Gugnin plays Shostakovich’ Preludes & Piano Sonatas

Shostakovich: Preludes & Piano Sonatas (Hyperion)

★★★★★

🎧 Apple Music | Amazon | Hyperion

If I listen one more time to Andrey Gugnin playing DSCH I shall probably be locked up for my own safety, at least until after Brexit. But it’s going to happen. Like Brexit, I can’t stop it.

The music on this compelling album comes from recesses of the composer’s soul, written at times when he was more troubled by personal issues than political. Aged 21, his percussive first piano sonata of 1927 runs alongside his second symphony and has much in common with Bartok’s sonata of 1926, though also with Alban Berg’s.

The second sonata, written in the middle of the second world war, is a kind of epitaph for Shostakovich’s piano teacher, who had just died. In between, Gugnin plays the astonishing 24 preludes of 1932-33, a series so introspective it amounts almost to a man talking to himself in the mirror. Bach is the obvious model as he would be 20 years later for the Preludes and Fugues Op 87 and yet this untravelled, Soviet-enclosed composer is drawn to a wider range of cultures. The 5th prelude sounds like a Vaughan Williams pastoral, the 7th like Kurt Weill on black coffee.

Gugnin, a young Russian who won a piano competition in Sydney, Australia, plays at times maddeningly fast, just to show he can. But amid the helter-skelter there are moments of tender and profound contemplation that I need to hear again and again.

The Hyperion record label had its first hit many years ago with Tatiana Nikolayeva’s immersive account of the Preludes and Figures Op 87. To all who know that epic album, I need only say that this recording comes close, very close. Almost to the edge of elsewhere.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Want more updates on classical music and opera news and reviews? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for all the latest.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Some Of The Most Painfully Consequential Music You Will Ever Hear

By Norman Lebrecht on February 12, 2021

The outstanding Offenburgers play a gripping compilation of some of the most richly coloured and painfully consequential music you are ever likely to hear.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Anna Clyne’s ‘Mythologies’ Checks Off All the Boxes

By Norman Lebrecht on January 29, 2021

There is much within Anna Clyne's 'Mythologies' to give instant pleasure or, at the very least, a validation of the continuing relevance of classical form in the third decade of the 21st century.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Ligeti Never Stayed Glum For Long

By Norman Lebrecht on February 19, 2021

Fiendishly difficult to play and irresistibly easy on the ear, British pianist Danny Driver captures Ligeti's mood swings in this new recording.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.