Often described as a favourite pupil of Shostakovich, Boris Tishchenko studied composition with the master 1962 – 1965, and the two remained close until Shostakovich’s death in 1975. The influence of Shostakovich is discernible in much of Tishchenko’s music, but the younger composer was also interested in the music of non-European countries, such as India, China and Japan, as well as in Russian folklore. Tishchenko was a prolific composer, with an output that covered many genres, including a great deal of orchestral music. Throughout his career, however, runs the thread of his eleven piano sonatas: the first sonata is his Op.3, and the final one became his last completed score. Most of the sonatas are extensive works, imagined on an almost symphonic scale. With a duration of 40 minutes, the Seventh Sonata, Op.85 (1982), is the longest of them all. It is also the most unusual, being a sonata ‘for piano with bells’: the pianist is joined by a percussionist playing respectively large bells, tubular bells and glockenspiel in the three movements of the sonata. The work even begins with a series of sixteen C’s from the large bells, before the piano sets in. The Eighth Sonata, Op.99 (1986), is also a three-movement work, but that is where the similarities end. The juxtaposition of these two works thus becomes a perfect tribute to the composer, bearing in mind how deeply he respected tradition while at the same time tearing up its rulebook. Joined by Jean-Claude Gengembre in Sonata No.7, the French pianist Nicolas Stavy makes his first appearance on BIS in these demanding and valuable scores. His recording also serves as a useful and welcome reminder of the many fine composers that remained in the Soviet Union, when colleagues such as Sofia Gubaidulina or Alfred Schnittke emigrated to the West.
Extra material for download