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

Disk 2

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

Disk 3

  1. Ignaz von Held: Rondo
  2. Ignaz von Held: Polonaise de Mars
  3. Joseph Kamensky: Sonata for Violin and Seven-string Guitar: I. Allegro moderato
  4. Joseph Kamensky: Sonata for Violin and Seven-string Guitar: II. Polish Song with Variations
  5. Ludwig Sychra: Fantasia
  6. Vladimir Lvov: Sonata: I. Allegro moderato
  7. Vladimir Lvov: Sonata: II. Rondo. Allegretto
  8. Anonymous: D’un mensonge
  9. Anonymous: On dit que sans espérance
  10. Anonymous: À ma Clémence
  11. Andrey Sychra: Polonaise
  12. Ferdinando Antonolini: Perduta l’arbitra
  13. Domenico Cimarosa: Se m’abandoni
  14. A. Svientitsky: Variations
  15. A. Svientitsky: Kozak – Air russe

Disk 4

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

Disk 5

  1. Andrey Sychra: Polonaise
  2. Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka: Polonaise
  3. Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka: Kamarinskaia
  4. Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka: Potpourri from Life for the Tsar
  5. Michał Kleofas Ogiński: Polonaise in A Major
  6. Michał Kleofas Ogiński: Polonaise in F Minor
  7. Andrey Sychra: Variations on Two Songs
  8. Pierre Rode: Polonaise

Disk 6

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

Disk 7

  1. Gioacchino Rossini: Cavatina “di tanti palpiti
  2. Maslofsky: But Sylvia Is Not Here
  3. Ignaz von Held: My Little Dove
  4. Maslofsky: To the Hearts
  5. Antoine de L’Hoyer: Sonata for Violin and Guitar: I. Moderato
  6. Antoine de L’Hoyer: Sonata for Violin and Guitar: II. La chasse
  7. Piotr Naimanovsky: Variations on “que le jour me dure”
  8. Maslofsky: Forgive Me
  9. Vladimir Morkov: Potpourri of Russian Folksongs
  10. Ignaz von Held: To the River
  11. Ignaz von Held: The Ray of Hope
  12. Mauro Giuliani: Polonaise