Rites de Passage - Dranchuk
Ars Produktion ARS 38 340
Classical - Instrumental
Works by Tchaikovsky, Say, Schubert-Liszt, Liszt
Anastassiya Dranchuk (piano)
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Review by Adrian Quanjer - March 16, 2023
“An hour-long journey through time and space that resembles a rite of passage, even leading into the depths of one’s own soul and leaving no one who dares to undertake it unchanged “, with which Michal Hesemann ends his poetic liner notes, is the musical tale of a prodigy child’s travel on the way to becoming a mature artist. Her name: Anastassiya Dranchuk. A Kazakhstan-born pianist who studied at the famous Hanns Eissler Music Academy and subsequently made Berlin her home base.
In this solo debut release, every step on that road is marked by a composition dear to her heart and imagination, inviting the audience to travel along with her from the Christmas fairy tales of her youth to the dramatic impact of Mephistopheles.
The piano version of the Nutcracker Suite is not Tchaikovsky’s own but the now common arrangement by the Russian pianist, Michail Pletnev. Dranchuk is in no hurry. She takes her time to put her feelings lovingly yet convincingly in the showcase. Refined though this is, the remarkable jewel is no doubt Fasil Say’s Troy Sonata of which Anastassiya has selected five of the ten parts. This 1918 composed sonata is as inventive as was the Trojan Horse. A schematic layout is included in the booklet so that the listener can follow the progress of the story, which, by the way, is one of the great advantages of a physical product, booklet included, over a download or streaming service! Her tale-telling pianism is superbly judged, including some of Michel Legrand’s reminiscent passages in Say’s programmatic sonata.
No matter whether it is Gretchen or Anastassiya ‘Am Spinnrade’ the pleasure of Liszt’s transcription is entirely ours. And moving across from this workshop to Mephistopheles’s Tavern may be a small step in the recital, but a huge one in terms of spirit and virtuosity. Anastassiya Dranchuk combines both in Liszt’s popular Mephisto Walz of which she plays the piano version of the first of four with appropriate gusto and affection, avoiding the excessive fury one often hears in more exhibitionist versions. Thus, bringing her travel between opposite sides of life to a memorable end.
The recording was made in the TELDEX Studios, Berlin, Germany. The mastering was entrusted to Emil Berliner Studios. Although both dispose of the best possible equipment, the piano sound lacks the definition and clarity of other ARS releases. This, however, has little bearing on Anastassiya’s generous display in an hour-long soul-searching recital that should impress many of her national and international audiences.
Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.
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