The Russian Guitar 1800-1850

The Russian Guitar 1800-1850
Artist Oleg Timofeyev Russian seven-string guitar
John Schneiderman Russian seven-string guitar
Dan Caraway Russian seven-string guitar
Anne Harley soprano
Etienne Abelin classical violin
Kenneth Slowik fortepiano
Format 7 CD
Cat. number 95405
EAN code 5028421954059
Release August 2016

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About this release

This comprehensive release is a celebration of the astonishing presence of the guitar in Russia at the beginning of the 19th century. Just the sheer number of composers featured on this 7CD album exemplifies how popular the instrument was. Though many of these composers have now fallen into obscurity, their works live on – discovered by renowned guitarist Oleg Timofeyev, an expert on the music of this time. Mr Timofeyev is known for reviving the seven-string Russian guitar, and it is on this instrument that he performs these works, many of which have never been recorded before.

The release starts with one of the masters of the instrument, Andrey Sychra, whose numerous pupils form many of the composers on this album. Sychra was an accomplished harpist, and several of his works seem to imitate the delicacy of the harp. His fine Études are among the first for Russian guitar, and this style would be elaborated on by many of Sychra’s followers, whether they were meant for study or the concert hall. Sychra was also adept at programmatic music, with his compositions after poems able to depict atmospheric scenes, particularly apparent in his works based on Russian folk songs. Other composers, such as Mikhail Vysotsky, preferred to extemporise on themes by well-known composers; Vysotsky chose Cramer’s Études as a basis for his free-flowing Fantasia, and even arranged the third contrapunctus from J.S. Bach’s Art of Fugue in a remarkably original and novel transcription.

The final CD of this album sees the Russian guitar paired with other instruments – unusual, as Russian guitarists, often in the military or part of land-owning nobility, rarely had an opportunity to play alongside other musicians. We have Piotr Naimanowsky’s Variations for guitar and fortepiano, a sympathetic working of the popular French air Que le jour me dure, and a Sonata for violin and guitar by Antoine de L’Hoyer, a Frenchman who spent 10 years in Russia and frequently wrote for the Russian guitar.

This innovative release represents an exciting chance to discover the severely neglected world of the Russian guitar during this period. As Oleg Timofeyev and his companions show, there is a wealth of music worthy of attention here, in a variety of genres and styles.

The seven-string guitar appeared in Russia in the 1790s and experienced its Golden Age during the first half of the 19th century. This Box Set is a monument to this remarkable era.
The 7 CD’s of this set follow chronologically the development of the guitar in Russia: from the very first works by the “Patriarch of the Russian guitar” Andrey Sichra, through the Muscovite School of Aksionov, Vysotsky and Vetrov, the St. Petersburg School with works by Morkov and others, to the Romantics Alexandrov, Zimmerman and Sarenko.
Also included are songs accompanied by the guitar and chamber music in which the guitar has a prominent part.
A unique project, played by master guitarist Oleg Timofeyev as soloist, seconded by second guitarist John Schneiderman. Timofeyev wrote the extensive and scholarly liner notes himself.
With artist biographies and extensive liner notes written by the artist.

Recorded in Virginia, USA, between 2008 and 2013.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. The Poor Branch
  2. In the Valley
  3. Troïka
  4. In the Garden
  5. Four Études: Étude No. 1
  6. Four Études: Étude No. 2
  7. Four Études: Étude No. 3
  8. Four Études: Étude No. 4
  9. Variations on Weber’s Last Thought
  10. Rondo à la Savoyard

Disk 2

  1. Kamarinskaia
  2. In the Valley
  3. Exercise in A Minor
  4. I Feel Bad
  5. Pour biendans ma chaumière
  6. How Did I Upset You?
  7. Akh vy seni
  8. Mozart Variations
  9. March
  10. Stop Singing, oh Nature’s Friend
  11. I Love Pear
  12. You Won’t Believe
  13. Étude in D Major
  14. Étude in G Major
  15. Étude in A Minor
  16. Rondoletto

Disk 3

  1. Rondo
  2. Polonaise de Mars
  3. Sonata for Violin and Seven-string Guitar: I. Allegro moderato
  4. Sonata for Violin and Seven-string Guitar: II. Polish Song with Variations
  5. Fantasia
  6. Sonata: I. Allegro moderato
  7. Sonata: II. Rondo. Allegretto
  8. D’un mensonge
  9. On dit que sans espérance
  10. À ma Clémence
  11. Polonaise
  12. Perduta l’arbitra
  13. Se m’abandoni
  14. Variations
  15. Kozak – Air russe

Disk 4

  1. Fantasia
  2. Not a Peacock
  3. Troïka
  4. I Loved Rose
  5. Don’t Be Surprised
  6. Fantasia on the Themes from Cramer’s Études
  7. Remember, My Friend
  8. Bach’s Fugue
  9. Cossack
  10. Rondo
  11. Go Home, Dear Cow
  12. Ukrainian Song
  13. Ogiński’s Polonaise
  14. Ah, Mother, I Have a Headache
  15. Vanyusha

Disk 5

  1. Polonaise
  2. Polonaise
  3. Kamarinskaia
  4. Potpourri from Life for the Tsar
  5. Polonaise in A Major
  6. Polonaise in F Minor
  7. Variations on Two Songs
  8. Polonaise

Disk 6

  1. My Heart
  2. Graziella
  3. It is Hard for Me
  4. Gallop
  5. Scherzo
  6. L’Illusion perdue
  7. An Orphan’s Song
  8. Ballad
  9. Prayer
  10. Melody
  11. Capriccio in B Minor
  12. Capriccio in G Major
  13. Tyrolian Waltz
  14. Waltz
  15. Two Marches: No. 1
  16. Two Marches: No. 2
  17. Three Exercises: No. 1 in G Major. Andante
  18. Three Exercises: No. 2 in G Major. Allegro moderato
  19. Three Exercises: No. 3 in G Minor
  20. Six Études: I. Étude in G Major
  21. Six Études: II. Étude in D Major
  22. Six Études: III. Étude in D Minor
  23. Six Études: IV. Étude in B Minor
  24. Six Études: V. Étude in C Minor
  25. Six Études: VI. Étude in F Minor
  26. Romance Without Words
  27. Fantasia “at the Seashore”
  28. Four Études: I. Étude in B Minor
  29. Four Études: II. Étude in C Major
  30. Four Études: III. Étude in D Minor
  31. Four Études: IV. Étude in G Minor
  32. Ukrainian Dance

Disk 7

  1. Cavatina “di tanti palpiti
  2. But Sylvia Is Not Here
  3. My Little Dove
  4. To the Hearts
  5. Sonata for Violin and Guitar: I. Moderato
  6. Sonata for Violin and Guitar: II. La chasse
  7. Variations on “que le jour me dure”
  8. Forgive Me
  9. Potpourri of Russian Folksongs
  10. To the River
  11. The Ray of Hope
  12. Polonaise