|With this production
12 Études d'exécution transcendante
to his 150th birthday
Sergei Michailovich Liapunov was born on 30 November 1859, 18 November 1859 according to the Gregorian calendar, in Yaroslavl, a governmental city about 250 km north of Moscow on the trade route to Archangelsk. His father was active there as a now worldwide well-known mathematician, his mother as a piano pedagogue; she took her son under her wing relatively early. When the father died in 1870, the eleven-year-old Sergei and his mother went to live with relatives in Nizhni Novgorod lying on the Volga to the east, where he was able to attend diverse basic practical and theoretical courses offered by the music society there starting in 1874. Thus the path towards a higher musical education, particularly in piano and composition, was opened up for him. He passed the entrance examination at the Moscow Conservatory at the age of eighteen and was accepted into the piano class of the Liszt pupil from Königsberg, Paul (Pavel) Pabst (1854 – 1897), who was just slightly older than Liapunov. He then transferred to the master class of Karl Klind-worth (1830 – 1916), also a pupil of Liszt, simultaneously studying composition with Sergei Taneyev (1856 – 1915), an honours pupil of Peter Tchaikovsky.
Widely recognised as a concert pianist, Liapunov mastered a memorised repertoire that was quite unusual for that period – it extended from the Classical and Romantic Periods back to Bach's “Well-tempered Clavier.” This and his pedagogical talent finally earned him a professorship in piano and composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory at the age of 54. After the October Revolution, he transferred to the Russian Institute of Art History of the Neva metropolis, meanwhile renamed Petrograd. He gathered a large circle of pupils, always teaching from a second grand piano in order to immediately demonstrate how he wanted an interpretation to sound. Unsatisfied with the communist regime that some of his fellow-countrymen such as Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky had already left, Liapunov also decided not to return to his homeland from a concert tour to Paris in 1923. He founded a music school for Russian immigrants on the Seine which he also directed but died already on 8 November 1924, three weeks before his sixty-fifth birthday.
Not only Liapunov's piano music is extensive. He also wrote two symphonies and a symphonic poem, two piano concertos and a violin concerto as well as chamber and choral works, lieder and folksong adaptations. Absolutely outstanding among these works are the “Douze Études d'exécution transcendante” begun in 1897 and completed in 1906 as Opus 11, twelve etudes that transcend everything previously written in terms of performability. Franz Liszt had written a cycle bearing the same title between 1826 and 1851 and wanted to expand these to 48 etudes but later dropped this plan. Liapunov at least partially realised this enterprise in memory of his greatly admired Franz Liszt (“À la mémoire vénérée de François Liszt – Hommage de l'àuteur,” as he wrote in the first edition) insofar as he, like his great model, uses and arranges, in relation to each other, precisely those twelve keys that Liszt did not use.
|Sergei Michailovich Liapunov (1859 – 1924)
12 Études d'exécution transcendante
|||Berceuse. F sharp major||4'10|
|||Ronde des Fantômes. D sharp minor||3'21|
|||Carillon. B major||7'21|
|||Térek. G sharp minor||4'15|
|||Nuit d'été. E major||10'01|
|||Tempête. C sharp minor||4'29|
|||Idylle. A major||5'24|
|||Chant épique. F sharp minor||8'59|
|||Harpes éoliennes. D major||6'20|
|||Lesghinka. B minor||6'59|
|||Ronde des sylphes. G major||4'03|
|||Élégie en mémoire de François Liszt. E minor||13'20|
|Hans-Dieter Meyer-Moortgat ............. Klavier|
Recorded: 2007, Fazioli 308 concert grand, Studio “Am Wasserturm“ at Wolfenbüttel, Germany · Recording, Cut: Marcel Babazadeh · Engineering, Layout: sonox musikproduktion · Mastering: Thomas Sandmann, master orange music · DDD · Total playing Time: 78'47
SICUSKlassik sic 009-2