The two concertos dating from 2007 and 2010 on this Toccata Classics CD sound, for the most part, as though they could have been written over a century ago. The music is by the Russian born American classical and jazz pianist and composer Igor Raykhelson. It is the third release of the composer’s orchestral music on Toccata and contains Mr. Raykhelson’s concerto for piano and his concerto for cello. The Russian State Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Hobart Earle and the soloists are Boris Berezovsky, piano and Alexander Kniazev, cello.
Igor Raykhelson’s early career was as a highly successful jazz pianist. There is certainly an audible jazz influence in his music, but overall, the composer has clearly embraced traditional classical forms and harmonies, producing music of unabashed Romanticism. I was most often reminded of Rachmaninov, but the influences of Prokofiev and Shostakovich are also present. The jazz facet of Raykhelson’s background can be heard in sections reminiscent of Gershwin and Bernstein, especially in his harmonies. However, these jazz influences act to expand and to enhance the musical vocabulary of this fine classical composer. Mr. Raykhelson’s explains himself: “Jazz has a lot to give in terms of harmonic language which, combined with melodic material and romantic music, is very enriching.”
The sample in the right sidebar for you to hear is the final Allegro moderato movement (the fourth – both concertos are in four movements rather than the traditional three) of the Piano Concerto in G minor (2007). It is thoroughly representative of all the music on the album. You can also hear a performance of Raykhelson Adagio performed by Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists in the video below. Mr. Raykhelson spends most of his time composing now, having built a catalog of over 30 works, largely in the solo piano, chamber and orchestral genres. Once all his orchestral works have been recorded, let’s hope that Toccata will move on to Raykhelson’s chamber and piano music.
Raykhelson’s concertos for piano (2007) and cello (2010), written for the two soloists on this recording, maintain the emphasis on a melodic language with its roots in the music of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.
Igor is a Russian born American Classical and Jazz composer.
At present Igor is moving forward with his successful career of a composer. The maestro’s success is guaranteed by his fine artistic flair, lyrical and melodious music, as well as solicitous treatment of the musical traditions of the world classical music.
Boris Vadimovich Berezovsky (born January 4, 1969, in Moscow) is a Russian virtuoso pianist. Following his London début at the Wigmore Hall in 1988, The Times described him as “an artist of exceptional promise, a player of dazzling virtuosity and formidable power.”
Alexander Kniazev was born in Moscow in 1961. He began his cello studies at the age of six with Alexander Fedorchenko and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1986. As well as performing, he teaches at the Moscow Conservatory and regularly gives master classes in Europe and Asia.
Hobart Earle (born December 20, 1960) is a Venezuelan conductor of American descent and People’s Artist of Ukraine recipient. He was also known for his symphonic compositions of El Salón México, Lincoln Portrait and Jeremiah as well as Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs and Gustav Holst’s The Planets among other ballet and play conducting works.
Russian State Symphony Orchestra
The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra) is a Russian orchestra based in Moscow. Sometimes known in English as the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra gives concerts in Moscow at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.