Alexander Malofeev

Alexander Malofeev
Alexander Malofeev, pianist (b. 2001, Moscow). Photo by Liudmila Malofeeva

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sergei Redkin plays Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.30 in E major, & Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No.4 in F minor (HD 1080p)

Russian pianist Sergei Redkin (third prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015) performs Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.30 in E major, Op.109, and Frédéric Chopin's Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52. Recorded at St Petersburg Music House, English Hall, on December 14, 2016.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.30 in E major, Op.109

By the time Beethoven composed this work, his output had declined substantially, perhaps owing to his deafness and disappointments in life. The only complete works to emerge from the period of 1820-1823 were the last three piano sonatas, the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony. Even when compared to these imposing works, the E major Piano Sonata retains its status of a masterpiece. It is a remarkable work in several respects.

The first movement has a nearly unique structure: it opens with theme marked Vivace ma non troppo that almost immediately slows to an Adagio espressivo. Thereafter, the two contrasting tempos and utterances alternate. Scarlatti and Mozart had used such a scheme before, but never in such a bold and innovative fashion. On the surface, this short movement has a serene, almost angelic quality, but, like many other works written during this period, the composition's surface is merely one dimension among many. Indeed, nothing about this sonata is one-dimensional. Thus, for example, the subdued, brightly lit realm suggested by the beginning of the works eventually leads the listener to sections where the narrative slows down, conjuring up dark shadows that intimate feelings of longing and doubt.

The second movement, given its sonata form structure would be typical of a Beethoven first movement if it were not for its terse development and extreme brevity. There are two subject groups in this Prestissimo, with the first led by an assertive theme that more than vaguely suggests Schumann's piano style. More subdued at the outset, the second subject generates tension and energy as it progresses. Following a brief development, an interesting reprise leads to a concise coda.

The finale is twice as long as the previous two movements put together. It is a theme-and-variations scheme, whose main theme is marked Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo. The melody is beautiful, in style looking toward the Romantic movement that was then in its infancy. It is tranquil yet melancholy, pleased but valedictory. Some of the six variations generate further variations either through development (the third variation), or as a result of a two-tiered layout (the second variation). While the finale contains many lively moments, it is predominantly slow-to-moderate in tempo and generally subdued, gaining in confidence as the narrative proceeds. This movement concludes with the main theme played slowly and serenely. While the ending suggests a certain peaceful resolution of life's struggles and conflicts, it also reveals a feeling of resignation which is free of conflict and fear.

Source: Robert Cummings (

Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52

Together with the Barcarolle, the Polonaise-Fantaisie, and the second and third sonatas, the Fourth Ballade represents the summit of Chopin's art. The tentative start is haunting and suggestive and was once beautifully described by the critic Joan Chissell as bringing the same sense of wonder that a blind person, if granted the gift of sight, might feel on discovering the world's beauty for the first time. The principal, highly Slavonic theme is closely related to the first of Chopin's Trois Nouvelles Études (1839), the second of the opus 25 Études and surely provided an inspiration for Liszt's La Leggierezza (1848; all four works are in the key of F minor). It returns twice bejewelled, and the second subject's appearance in B flat and the return of the opening in A flat never disrupt the music's self-generating momentum. An aerial cadenza and a canonic treatment of the first subject bear eloquent witness to Chopin's increasing veneration for Bach, and the build-up and the pianissimo chords announcing a coda of the most fiery intricacy are as remarkable as anything in Chopin. They remind us simultaneously of his capacity for large-scale heroics and for the most intimate and hauntingly distinctive confidences.

Source: Bryce Morrison, 2004 (

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

♪ Piano Sonata No.30 in E major, Op.109 (1820)

i. Vivace ma non troppo. Adagio espressivo
ii. Prestissimo
iii. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52 (1842, revised 1843)

Sergei Redkin, piano

St Petersburg Music House, English Hall, December 14, 2016

(HD 1080p)

Sergei Redkin was born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, on October 27, 1991. He began to play the piano at the age of five. At the age of six he began to study at the Music Lyceum of Krasnoyarsk, in the class of Galina Boguslavskaya. At the same time he began to study improvisation and composition with Eduard Markaich.

In year 2004, after becoming a laureat of the International Gavrilin competition of young composers in Saint Petersburg, Sergei continued his education at the Special Music School of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, in the class of Olga Kurnavina. At that time Sergei won his first several prizes at competitions for young pianists, such as Rachmaninov competition (Saint Petersburg, 2005, First prize) and Chopin competition (Estonia, 2006, Grand prix). Sergei also played his first solo recitals in Russia and abroad, getting engagements from Germany, Switzerland, Poland.

Simultaneously Sergei studied composition under prof. Alexander Mnatsakanyan, one of the last students of great Shostakovich. Among the young composer's works you can find a string quartet, a trio for winds, chamber music, a lot of music for piano. Suite for cello and piano won the First prize at the young composers' competition in Saint Petersburg in 2007.

In 2008 Sergei was honored to receive the Maestro Temirkanov Award as one of the best students of Saint Petersburg Special Music School.

In year 2009 Sergei successfully passed his entrance exams and became a student of prof. Alexander Sandler at the Saint Petersburg state Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. He also continued his composition studies under prof. Mnatsakanyan.

During the year 2011 with the support of St Petersburg House of Music Sergei Redkin trained at the famous International Lake Como Piano Academy in Italy, studying under such musicians as William Grant Nabore, Dmitry Bashkirov, Peter Frankl, Fou Ts'ong among others.

In year 2012 Sergei became the winner of III International Maj Lind competition in Helsinki, in 2013 – the winner of VI International Prokofiev competition in Saint Petersburg. In 2015 Sergei Redkin won the Third prize and the Bronze medal at the XV International Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow.

Currently Sergei is continuing his studies under prof. Sandler in Saint Petersburg Conservatory. In 2016 he's playing his first concerts in New York, Mexico and Paris (all with Maestro Valery Gergiev and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra), touring with solo recitals throughout the world, from Portugal and Israel to Vladivostok and Yakutsk, taking part at prestigious classical music festivals, playing a lot of chamber music and composing in the meantime.


More photos

See also

Sergei Redkin – All the posts

The winners of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015

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