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Alexander Nikolaychuk, Elizaveta Baykova – Two Sides (24/44 FLAC)

Alexander Nikolaychuk, Elizaveta Baykova - Two Sides (24/44 FLAC)
Alexander Nikolaychuk, Elizaveta Baykova – Two Sides (24/44 FLAC)


Composer: Vasily Andreyev, Antonio Bazzini, François Couperin, Louis-Claude Daquin, Anatoliy Kusyakov, Jean Philippe Rameau, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Domenico Scarlatti, Evgeny Trostyansky
Performer: Alexander Nikolaychuk, Elizaveta Baykova
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Melodiya
Catalogue: MEL CO 0879
Release: 2021
Size: 640 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Daquin: Le Coucou
02. Rameau: Le rappel des oiseaux
03. Rameau: Les Cyclopes

Couperin: Pièces de clavecin III
04. Ordre 17ème in E major: Les petits moulins à vent

05. Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata K450 in G minor
06. Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata K399 in C major
07. Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata K107 in F major

Mozart, Kreisler: Haffner Serenade
08. IV. Rondo in G Major (Arr. for balalaika)

09. Bazzini: La Ronde des lutins, Op. 25
10. Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumble Bee
11. Andreyev: Balalaika Waltz
12. Trostyansky: Nocturne
13. Trostyansky: Grotesque and Reflection

Kusyakov: Sonata No. 1 for Balalaika and Piano
14. I. Allegro Moderato
15. II. Allegro Vivo

16. trad.: Folks Blame Me (Arr. for balalaika)
17. trad.: Valenki (Arr. for balalaika)

The album Two Sides is my debut album. The idea of recording it emerged in 2020 after the concert in Strasbourg, France, where I performed most of the featured compositions.

The program is designed in such a way that the listener can get acquainted with the repertoire of a balalaika player living in the 21st century. The CD can be conditionally divided into two parts: from the first track to the tenth, and from the eleventh to the seventeenth. The first part is largely dedicated to the music of composers of the Baroque era (Louis-Claude Daquin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, François Couperin, Domenico Scarlatti). My fondness for this music comes from my teacher and friend Andrei Shchagin, who was my accompanist during my college years. In my opinion, the transcriptions of these compositions sound great on our instrument: the principle of phonation on stringed plucked instruments is very close to that of the harpsichord, for which this music was originally written. In addition to the Baroque music, we recorded several transcriptions of violin literature. While Antonio Bazzini’s La Ronde des Lutins is a repertoire piece of almost every violinist, Mozart’s Rondo in G major from the Haffner Serenade is much more often performed on the balalaika. The famous Flight of the Bumblebee from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan acts here as an ending of the first part of the album and is a kind of connecting link between the foreign classics and the original music for the balalaika.

Vasily Andreyev’s Balalaika Waltz opens the second part of the album. His name is connected with a new chapter in the history of performance on folk instruments. For me, Vasily Andreyev is a Russian Chopin. His music is awash with romanticism. Unfortunately, his compositions are performed less and less often in concert, although this music is for the soul.

Next up, two works by the Soviet balalaika player Evgeny Trostyansky, Nocturne and Grotesque and Reflection. I felt the urge to perform these pieces as early as in my college days, but I had a chance to play them only recently.

It was impossible to ignore the music of contemporary composers in a program like this – I mean Anatoly Kusyakov’s Sonata for balalaika and piano No. 1. I think this music would suit a trained ear since the language of presentation of the material here is much more complicated, but it also creates the needed kind of expression.

Since I wanted to end the album with something eternal, which is, of course, Russian folk music, you will hear two Russian folk songs at the end of the second part, Folks Blame Me and Valenki arranged by Alexander Shalov.

Two Sides is a kind of concert album. It was made in a studio, not a concert hall. The name came after the mixing process, and I think it reflects the content very well. On the one hand, we have transcriptions of classical music, on the other, original compositions written specifically for the balalaika.

The program is arranged in the order in which I would play it live in front of the audience. Therefore, my recommendation for listening is to go from the first number to the last.

Alexander Nikolaychuk

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