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Italian pianist Inga Fiolia plays Russian father-figure Glinka

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Glinka: Nine variation sets

Grand Piano GP741

3 stars

 

The Grand Piano label specialises in obscure composers, sometimes even presenting their complete oeuvre. This time they have picked out Mikhail Glinka, a father-figure in the Russian classical tradition. In the first volume, the young and talented Italian pianist Inga Fiolia presents nine sets of variations, some based on themes from operas (including The Magic Flute), and others using Russian folk songs. It must have been a Herculean task, for all the works are technically demanding. Sadly, none of them are musically interesting and after listening to a few variations the mind tends to wander. The variations on Solovey (The Nightingale), a song by Alabiev, is occasionally encountered in concert, but there is surely a reason why few pianists have bothered learning all these notes. A pity, for Fiolia has a secure technique, a clear singing tone and plays with much good sense and understanding. Hopefully we will hear from her again in more substantial repertoire. MD

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