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For many, the piano music of Sergei Lyapunov (1859-1924) is represented by Louis Kentner’s association with the Transcendental Studies. Chandos has expanded the envelope with a recording of the Second Piano Concerto, while Hyperion has recorded both. Toccata Classics’ valuable disc presents a chronological survey of the composer’s solo piano music.

Lyapunov was invited by Nikolai Rubinstein to the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied with Tchaikovsky and Taneyev. He was later linked to Balakirev in St Petersburg. His favoured teacher was Karl Klindworth, a pianist of the Liszt school, which perhaps accounts for the Lisztian influences heard here. But there are also shadows of Chopin in the first of the Op 1 Pieces (and further hints of that composer later, in the Scherzo).

Russian-American pianist Margarita Glebov hails from St Petersburg. She is an eloquent guide throughout. She revels in the surprisingly chromatic opening of the first of the Op 9 Mazurkas, a remarkably exploratory piece that seems to oscillate between Scriabin and Wagner. Glebov’s staccato in the middle section is simply superb.

Glebov impressively invokes the spirit of improvisation in the first Valse-Impromptu; but the most interesting of the works here, arguably, is the No 7 Mazurka, an extended piece that becomes progressively darker and more impassioned. The third Valse- Impromptu was the last of Lyapunov’s compositions to appear in his lifetime and perfectly rounds off the disc. Booklet annotator Donald Manildi’s essay speaks of Lyapunov’s ‘virtuoso lyricism’, and that is precisely what we hear.

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Piano International, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing