For his first album with Berlin Classics Alexander Krichel has brought together a couple of heavyweights. He combines the “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky, a central work of the piano literature, with a rarely heard gem by the Romanian composer George Enescu. Enescu’s Second Piano Suite enhances the formal language of the Baroque with Romantic and Impressionist timbres, and entrances the listener with a rich palette of tone colours. To round off the programme, Alexander Krichel plays another work by a composer from Russia’s “mighty handful”, the Nocturne from the Petite Suite by Alexander Borodin.
There’s no denying it: Krichel feels himself strongly drawn to the Russian repertoire. He studied with two of the greatest Russian pianists of modern times: in Hanover, as Vladimir Krainev’s last student; and at the Royal College of Music in London, with Dmitri Alexeev. “I’ve long had Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ in my repertoire, but now, this piano suite is exactly right with its strong sense of dedication,” says Krichel. “It would be hard to find another piano cycle that has such variety and places such comprehensive demands. Mussorgsky captures a whole cosmos in his ‘Pictures’. That links him with George Enescu, who in writing his Second Suite actually composed a tribute as well.