Balakirev: Complete Works for Solo Piano
These recordings of Balakirev’s complete solo piano works by the much-lauded pianist Nicholas Walker have been hailed as ‘the reference set’ by the American Record Guide. Originally released between 2013 and 2020, these critically acclaimed performances are now collected together for the first time in a 6 album box set. Includes world premiere recordings. Hailed by the London Evening Standard as a 'prodigy, of awesome technical fluency backed by exceptional artistry', Nicholas Walker possesses a rare combination of talents combining sensitivity with 'the flair of a full scale virtuoso and a sparkling intelligence' (BBC Music Magazine). Nicholas Walker teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he devised the celebrated keyboard skills course, the advanced level of which not only helps students to be proficient in all aspects of practical musicianship, but offers them the chance to learn how to improvise in various forms, such as minuets, variations, sonatinas and Mozart-type cadenzas, in addition to devising and performing a virtuoso transcription of their own.
Excerpts from reviews of previously released volumes included in this set:
Balakirev: Complete Piano Works Vol 1
Walker presents the works in reverse chronological order, thereby giving us the best and best-known work first. It is a masterly performance, fully on a par with or exceeding ones I have reviewed in recent years: Hinrose (Mirare 181, Nov/Dec 2012), Driver (Hyperion 67806, July/Aug 2011), and Hellaby (Cameo 2081, Sept/Oct 2009). Besides Kentner’s great recording (Naxos 111223, not available in US), I also enjoy Earl Wild’s (Ivory 73005, May/June 2004). Walker finds inner voices and emphasizes some different aspects of the harmony and form, making for a new and well thought out interpretation. He has the full technical capability to handle all of the demands of this score
– American Record Guide
Balakirev: Complete Piano Works Vol 3
This third volume of Balakirev’s complete piano works is built around his seven Mazurkas, joyous and colourful pieces with an unmistakable Slavic tone. This series continues to establish Walker as the new reference for Balakirev’s music.
Balakirev: Complete Piano Works Vol 5
This one is particularly fascinating for transcription junkies, beginning with the spectacular (and spectacularly difficult) Reminiscences on Glinka’s A Life for the Czar, famous from Earl Wild’s 1969 recording. Walker is quite his equal—and that is saying something—and is also beautifully recorded in a realistic, sympathetic acoustic. Indeed, Walker’s playing throughout this absorbing disc is a pleasure to hear, with a sophisticated tonal palette and eschewing any superficial virtuosity: ‘bravura with integrity’ is how I would describe it. Why don’t we hear more of him?
Release Date: September 10, 2021
Catalog Number: GP864X
Label: Grand Piano
Number of Discs: 6
Composer: Franz Liszt, Fryderyk Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka, Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev, Platon Vasil'evich Zapol'sky
Performer: Nicholas Walker