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Bulgarian cellist Liliana Kehayova releases Cello Sonatas by Nikolai Myaskovsky on CD

The Russian composer Nikolai Myaskovsky, born in 1881 and died in 1950, was a pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Anatoly Lyadov. He himself taught a generation of up-and-coming composers, including Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky and Andrei Eshpai. The Bulgarian cellist Liliana Kehayova, accompanied by the pianist Kristina Miller, has now recorded the two fascinating cello sonatas by Myaskovsky on the “Dynamic” label (distributed by Naxos). 

Above all, the Sonata for Violoncello and Piano No. 2, which is still romantically influenced but harmonically immensely exciting, is a masterpiece by the Russian composer. Deeply rooted in Russian aesthetics, expressive and at times sombre in character, yet immensely rich in large melodic arches, it plumbs the full sonic depths of the cello.

The Bulgarian cellist Liliana Kehayova holds a cello professorship at the New Bulgarian University. She is a member of the Paganini Ensemble Vienna and has also been the director of the International Music Academy Orpheus in Vienna since 2014.

A passionate soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Kehayova has participated in numerous music festivals and recitals throughout Europe. As a soloist she has performed with orchestras such as the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Central European Orchestra Udine, the North Czech Philharmonic Teplice, the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra, the “New Symphony Orchestra” and the “Camerata Orphica”. 

The composer Nikolai Myaskovsky, to whom she now turns so impressively on her new CD, was to pursue a military career at his father's request, although his great musical talent was already evident at an early age. He attended various cadet schools and was trained as a military engineer. In addition, he received his first music lessons from an aunt. From 1902 he took private lessons with Reinhold Glière. In 1906 he began to study at the Petersburg Conservatory and became a pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korssakov and Anatoly Lyadov, among others. In 1907 he took leave from military service and became a reservist. After his studies, Myaskovsky wrote for music magazines and gave music lessons. In 1914 he was called up for military service, suffered serious injuries and, severely traumatised, was sent back to Petersburg in 1917. After the October Revolution, he took an active part in reshaping musical life and was appointed professor of composition at the Moscow Conservatory in 1921 - a position he held until his death. His composition class produced important composers such as Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky and Andrei Eshpai.

Myaskovsky’s compositional style is characterised by strong chromaticism and an frequently melancholic basic attitude - the tonal framework is only occasionally and rudimentarily, left behind. His legacy is an extensive œuvre, of which 27 symphonies, 13 string quartets and nine piano sonatas form the main part. He wrote a number of smaller pieces for piano lessons, which, to this day, remain very popular. A great example here is his so-called “Unbekümmerte Liedchen”, which was printed in the first volume of the Russian Piano School published by Sikorski (Russian Piano School Volume I SIK 2353, No. 95, p. 45.

Print edition of the recorded 2nd Cello Sonata by Nikolai Myaskovsky:
Nikolai Myaskovsky
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2
81 (1911/1945) 
SIK 6910 

About the CD:
Nikolai Myaskovsky / Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov:
Cello Sonatas
Liliana Kehayova (cello) and Kristina Miller (piano)
CDS7901 Dynamic

 

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