The young Russian pianist Alexandеr Malofeev performs Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35. Recorded at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, Germany, on March 14, 2018.
Chopin wrote the Funeral March that became the third of the four movements here in 1837 and composed the other three movements two years later. Almost since it was first heard, this work was looked on not as a sonata in form, but as a collection of four rather diverse pieces the composer assembled under one musical roof, Robert Schumann being the first to make the charge of a lack of cohesion between the various movements. However, several musicologists in the late twentieth century pointed out a number of previously overlooked – or at least ignored – qualities in this composition that bind the movements as inseparable musical siblings.
The sonata can be viewed as something of a life cycle. The first movement serves as the life force, struggling, loving, and suffering. The ensuing Scherzo enacts demonic forces in the main section and good forces in the lyrical alternate melody of the trio section. When this movement ends with a partial recalling of the second theme, it is not clear which set of forces has emerged victorious. The third movement Funeral March represents death or mourning for the hero of the first two movements. The ghostly finale, with its swirls of dark winds, has evoked many ominous images in the minds of listeners, and serves the life cycle here as a kind of final picture of the deceased, who lies in his quiet grave, with the rustles of the wind the only disturbance above.
There are many thematic and harmonic relationships between the movements, too. The harmonies in the Funeral March can be noticed in all three of the other panels. Also, there is a thematic kinship between the alternate melody in the first movement and the lovely theme in the trio to the Scherzo. Other ties between the first two movements exist: both are stormy and hard-driven at the outset, and each features a lyrical second theme. The structural likeness between the main themes in both these movements is also worth noting: each is built on repeating motifs, the first part of which is presented twice before moving upward on the keyboard to complete the thematic idea.
In the end, this sonata, while unorthodox in some respects, is a painstakingly worked out composition of great subtlety, hardly comprised of a loosely strung-together set of piano pieces. But for all its grand and profound design, it has always been Chopin's themes and keyboard writing that have made this work popular. The third movement Funeral March theme is as famous as any ever written, and the compelling nature of the fast themes in the first movements, and their alternate melodies as well, have made this sonata popular the world over. A typical performance of the work lasts from 22 to 26 minutes.
Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
♪ Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35 (1837-1839)
i. Grave – Doppio movimento
iii. Marche funèbre: Lento
iv. Finale: Presto
Alexandеr Malofeev, piano
Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Germany, March 14, 2018
Alexander Malofeev is a young Russian pianist, who gained international recognition through his outstanding appearance at the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (2014), where he won the 1st Prize. Alexander was born in Moscow in October 2001. Currently the young pianist studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music with Elena Berezkina.
At his young age, Alexander Malofeev already performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Mariinsky Theatre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Herkulessaal in Munich, Philharmonie de Paris, Theater of the Champs-Elysees, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, National Centre for the Performing Arts (China), Kaufman Music Center, and UNESCO House among others. He gave recitals in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Finland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Israel, China, Japan, Australia and the United States.
Alexander has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, "New Russia" State Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Alexander Sladkovsky, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Alondra de la Parra, Dmitry Liss, Eduard Topchjan, Myung-Whun Chung, Kazuki Yamada, Kristjan Järvi, Gábor Takács-Nagy and Alexander Soloviev to name only a few.
Alexander Malofeev performed at many renowned international festivals, such as La Roque d'Anthéron, Annecy Classic Festival, Chopin Festival (France), Rheingau Music Festival (Germany), Crescendo Festival (Denis Matsuev's festival), Mikkeli Music Festival (Valery Gergiev's festival), Mariinsky International Piano Festival, Denis Matsuev and friends Festival, International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival (Moscow, Baku, Orenburg), Stars of the White Nights International Music Festival, International Winter Festival Arts Square (directed by Yuri Temirkanov), Stars on Baikal International Music Festival, Vladimir Spivakov's International Moscow Meets Friends Festival, Festival of Larisa Gergieva (Vladikavkaz), International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo, Merano Music Festival (Italy), Eilat Chamber Music Festival, Peregrinos Musica Festival (Spain) among others.
In 2016 Alexander Malofeev won the Grand Prix of the International Competition for Young Pianists «Grand Piano Competition».
In June, 2016 the company Master Performers released Alexander Malofeev's debut DVD. The record was made in Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium, Australia.
In February 2017 Malofeev received a warm response in the Italian media describing the debut concert at La Scala: He was described as the "Russian genius" (Corriere della Sera) who performed the first Tchaikovsky piano concerto with Maestro Valery Gergiev.
In March 2017 Alexander Malofeev opened the 30th anniversary concert season of the established Meesterpianisten Series in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and received a great critical acclaim: "In contrast to what could be expected of a young artist at age 15, he demonstrated not only high technical accuracy but also an incredible maturity. Crystal clear sound, perfectly balanced revealed the exceptional skill in his playing..." (Amadeus)
In April 2017 in Italy, at the opening of the festival "International Piano Festival of Brescia and Bergamo" Alexander Malofeev was awarded the "Premio Giovane Talento Musicale dell'anno 2017" – "Best Young Musician of 2017".
In December 2017 Alexander became the first "Young Yamaha Artist".
Alexander Malofeev is supported by New Names Charity Foundation, Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation.
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