This CD is dedicated to the works of one of the brightest and most
interesting Russian musicians of the first half of the XX century - Samuel
A composer, a pianist, a founder and a leader of the piano school, a musical
re-searcher, Feinberg made an important contribution in all these spheres.
Feinberg's views on composing were special: the main purpose for him was
unrevealing the unknown, finding something that was hidden. All components of
the musical composition - structure, harmony and melody, texture - play
subsidiary role in the creation of the unique new musical image that has just
appeared. In some cases, the whole work is just a kind of preparation and
accumulation of different elements that, while they are joined together, become
the means of expression of the musical idea.
The speciality of this method can be seen already in the early works of
FOUR PRELUDES op. 8 (dedicated to Nikolai Zhiliaev) were composed in the
beginning of the 1920-s and published for the first time in 1926.
All preludes are different by the means of expression, but in the character of
each prelude there are relating features that allow to perceive the cycle as one
and a whole.
The idea of elements of the form that root into each other was close to
Feinberg's vision; it was embodied in all preludes, most expressively - in the
Second and the Fourth.
Even more brightly the specific features of composer's vision can be seen in one
of the most famous among all Feinberg's Sonatas - the SIXTH SONATA op.13 (1923).
It has an epigraph from a philosophic work by Oswald Schpengler "Sunset of
Europe": "Terrible are the symbols of the fast-flowing time, that day and night
are heard in the striking of the clocks on innumerable towers of Western Europe.
This is, perhaps, the most terrible expression of what the historic sense of
existence of the world is capable of".
In the 1930-s, when Schpengler was regarded as an ideologist of fascism, such
epigraph might cost the author of the Sonata his freedom or even his life.
Feinberg changed the quotation from Schpengler to a new epigraph which was very
close to the previous one by its message - from a poem by Fedor Tutchev
The monotonous striking of the clock,
The wearisome story of the night!
The language that is strange for everyone
And yet clear as conscience".
The sonata form in Feinberg's works is very flexible. All main themes appear in
a kind of a prologue: the first "fate" theme of the chimes and two other
opposing themes - a kind of two sides of the human soul - human anxiety and
unsteadiness and, on the other side, a man's ability to a theomachist riot.
A wonderful by its expression and coloring episode of chime is like the calm
before the storm. The coda - epilogue of the Sonata, exceptional by its image
and beauty, is one of the most inspired moments in the composer's heritage.
The long way Feinberg made from almost expressionistic style in his early
compositions to the new uniting idea, to perceiving the world as a supreme
harmony was embodied in the THIRD PIANO CONCERTO op. 44 (1947). The deepness and
breadth of its ideas which are perhaps even more significant than those in the
works of the early period poured out in a new clear form that is close to
The dramatic conception of a uniting idea is a traditional distinctive feature
of the Russian symphony music. And it is hardly surprising that Feinberg came to
it at the acme of his spiritual and creative life. All his work was connected
with the Russian national musical tradition with many different threads. In his
first compositions, Feinberg was close to Scriabin's music; in the later ones,
especially in the Second and Third piano concertos, he developed the line of
Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.