Auerbach Review in Gramophone

Duncan Druce writes in the special magazine “Gramophone” about the new BIS-CD: 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano op. 49a (Vadim Gluzman, violin / Angela Yoffe, piano – BIS-CD 1242):

“A young composers vivid, eclectic music is matched by powerful performances. Lera Auerbach, just 30, has already achieved success as a pianist, composer (more than 60 opus to date), novelist and poet. Born in the Soviet Union, she trained mainly in the US and in Germany. This, the first commercial CD of her music, benefits from powerful, strongly committed performances, and excellent recording – Auerbach’s style involves vivid, sometimes aggressive exploitation of the piano’s bass register, and such passages come across with wonderful force and clarity.

For the sequence of 24 keys, she adopts the same order as Chopin did for his Preludes. But the major and minor keys mean something rather different to Auerbach. Sometimes the key is onl tenuously suggested (F sharp minor); sometimes we’re half-way through the piece before it’s etablished (C major). On other occasions the tonal centre my be clear but the mode less so (B major). Or we come across naïve, straight-forward tonal material, subverted by unusual timbre or an ‘alien’ harmonic context (G major).

Auerbach’s music is eclectic, in places referential (F sharp minor, with its echoes of Mussorgsky and the Mozart K488 Concerto), but put together with tremendous passion and imagination. And if some devices tend to recur over and over again (wide separation of the pianist’s hands, thumping repeated bass notes, pieces thyt begin with great energy which then runs out to create a sense of emptiness), the way she welds so many memorable moments into convincing extended sequence shows a real composer at work. We’re likely to hear a lot more of her.”