Mami’s new solo album “Tchaikovsky Piano Music” has been released by Naxos in March. It is a collection of Tchaikovsky’s lesser known but utterly charming and appealing piano works which had not been recorded for Naxos previously.
12 pieces, Op 40 was composed straight after Tchaikovsky had finished his 4th Symphony and opera Eugene Onegin, and for a set of works entitled “of moderate difficulty”, it begins with a super-difficult Etude! These are pieces with full of character and charm, at times grave and sentimental, stirring melodies, some Russian folk influenced tunes, (such as Au village with its jolly dance in the 2nd half, solemn Marche funebre, and well known Danse russe, with a Cossack dance towards the end of the piece, which found its way into ballet Swan Lake.) and a lot more dances; waltzes, mazurkas, any of which could easily have come straight from his famous ballet or opera.
The CD also features his very first piano suite, Souvenir de Hapsal Op.2. The first piece Ruines d’un chateau (Ruins of a Castle), is an evocative piece which opens mysteriously and leads to a lively section with the sounds of trumpets recalling the battles fought. After a frothy and mischievous Scherzo comes a heartfelt Song Without Words (No.3 Chant sans paroles) which was Tchaikovsky’s earliest hit tune.
Some of the pieces featured here, such as Capriccio, Op.8 and Valse-Caprice, Op. 4 place great technical demand on the performer. Valse-Caprice, Op. 4, the most substantial work included in this album, starts off as an innocent waltz but builds up to an almost Lisztian bravura climax towards the end.