7437779.jpeAUERBACH: La Fenice: Sonata 1; Il Segno; Memento Mori; Fantasia; Images form Childhood. Ksenia Nosikova, pft. Profil PH07064. 65 minutes.

The piano music of Russian composer Lera Auerbach embraces both sides of a number of musical binaries that have pre-occupied us for decades: tonal/pantonal, dramatic/lyric, contrast/stasis, simple/complex, etc. The music frequently veers drastically from one extreme to another, and sometimes you’ve been moved a tremendous amount of expressive distance without even noticing it has happened.

Ms. Auerbach’s music is both immediately engaging and elusive enough to warrant deeper investigation. She displays a mastery of form in the Sonata and a skill for aphorism in the Images. The piano writing is idiomatic and exploratory.

Ksenia Nosikova’s playing is top notch. This is a fine disc, one that I am sure I will return to.

I noticed on finishing this that I didn’t really say very much about the music. I just want you to hear it.

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