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Dvorak: Poetic Tone Poems

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Dvorak: Poetic Tone Poems
Dvorak: Poetic Tone Poems


The first solo album on CAvi-music by Elena Bashkirova: the daughter of the Russian Pianist Dmitri Bashkirov and spouse of Daniel Barenboim.

"This time, I am not only an absolute musician, but also a poet", wrote Dvorak regarding the Poetic Tone Pictures, Op. 85, his most extended cycle of lyric character pieces for piano. Concluded in April/May 1889 at his summer residence in Vysoka, the Poetic Tone Pictures introduced a new tendency in Dvorak's output: from then on, he started to "poeticize" his musical style. As he wrote to his publisher Fritz Simrock: "Each piece will have its own title and is meant to express something: thus, as it were, this is program music!" This new tendency culminated in 1896-1898 with the five symphonic poems The Water Goblin Op. 107, The Noon Witch Op. 108, The Golden Spinning Wheel Op. 109, The Wild Dove Op. 110, and A Hero's Song Op. 111.

The great Czech composer is hardly known for his piano works, in which he invariably seems to stand somewhat in the shadow of great Romantic masters such as Schumann or Brahms. Nonetheless, the 13 character pieces that comprise the Poetic Tone Pictures reveal an incredibly rich, enchantingly diverse world of inner images. At the same time, they offer a multitude of stylistic and pianistic surprises by combining folklore elements with subtle timbre effects. It is therefore all the more astonishing that they have been seldom performed in concert.

Elena Bashkirova was looking for a new work to play: she rediscovered the neglected cycle in her score cabinet, and was immediately thrilled with Dvorak's rich and diverse palette of timbres: "I flipped through the pages, played a couple of chords and the music captured me right away. It's so poetic, so evocative. I immediately started to see stories and pictures in my mind's eye. As a pianist, you can narrate these stories very well. They open up our hearts." Elena Bashkirova finds that the Poetic Tone Pictures, although composed in the countryside, have everything to do in terms of mood with Prague Art Deco style. She is reminded "of those marvellous fin-de-siècle windows with their beautiful female figures". And she points out that Dvorak was thinking more of human situations than of landscapes when he wrote these pieces.". (from the liner notes by Julia Spinola)

"Elena Bashkirova plays beautifully throughout this disc. If the virtuosity of the Furiant is a little more restrained than I would like I cannot fault her connection and obvious love of this music. Every picture, every shade, every character is shown to its best advantage and she has certainly convinced me of the real value of this music, its invention and humour, its melancholy and optimism." - MusicWeb International

"Elena Bashkirova responds well to the considerable technical demands of these pieces, establishing from the start of the first, "Twilight way", a remarkable blend of delicacy and virtuosity." BBC Music Magazine


  1. Name
  2. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Nocturnal Path: Allegro Moderato
  3. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Toying: Allegretto Leggiero
  4. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - At The Old Castle: Lento
  5. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Spring Song: Poco Allegro
  6. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Peasant Ballad: Allegro Giusto
  7. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Sorrowful Reverie: Andante
  8. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Furiant: Allegro Feroce
  9. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Goblins Dance: Allegretto
  10. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Serenade: Moderato E Molto Cantabile
  11. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Bacchanale: Vivacissimo
  12. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - Tittle-tattle: Andante Con Moto
  13. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - At The Heros Grave: Grave, Tempo Di Marcia
  14. Dvorak: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85 - At The Holy Mountain: Poco Lento
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