Alfred Schnittke: Complete piano music (2CD)

In 2002 Simon Smith made his recording debut on Delphian in a disc of James MacMillan’s complete piano music, paired with Stuart MacRae’s Piano Sonata. Recordings of music by Hafliði Hallgrímsson and Thomas Wilson have followed. In this new, substantial outing Smith turns from music-making in Scotland to another of his lifelong loves, the music of Alfred Schnittke. This two-disc set comprises Schnittke’s entire published output for solo piano (including one piece for piano duet and another for six hands at one keyboard). The Russian composer’s music often makes gargantuan demands of the player. Smith’s astonishing dynamic palette and heartfelt musicality combine here to stunning effect.

"Smith demonstrates complete empathy with Schnittke's distinctive sound-world. His playing has great dramatic immediacy...Altogether these are compelling and utterly persuasive accounts."

"Simon Smith has the technical wherewithal and serious musicianship that enable him to convey seemingly intractable passages with narrative cogency...His thoroughly researched annotations add further value to an important release."

"The young British pianist Simon Smith gives compelling, expressive performances. Schnittke's reputation grows ever greater in death than in life."

"This is a heroic double-disc release by pianist Simon Smith, and judging by the depth of passion and understanding he elicits from Schnittke’s entire solo piano output, a labour of love as well."

"This career-retrospective offers a fascinating glimpse of how a series of strokes affected Alfred Schnittke’s work..captured by Simon Smith with extraordinary sensitivity, detail and emotional commitment."

"brilliantly committed Smith"

"Simon Smith can easily challenge at the highest level and to my ears gives us a sharpness of focus on these pieces which makes him a real winner."

"it takes a pianist of Smith's musicianship and stamina to pull it off so convincingly"

Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue(s): Reid Concert Hall, University of Edinburgh
Recording dates: 23 January 2012, 4-5 December 2012 & 18-19 April 2013
Physical format: Jewel case (slimline double)
Number of discs: 2
Number of tracks: 36
Total playing time: 2:26:29
First UK release date: 10 February 2014
Album ID: DCD34131

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