Sonatas for Piano
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For fans of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, here is Russian music by less well-known composers.

The two piano sonatas contained on this recording are among the finest examples of piano writing by two leading composers of the so-called Leningrad School, a group of Soviet composers raised and trained in Leningrad who came to prominence in the generation following Shostakovich. The fame of this group, which includes Sergei Slonimsky, Boris Tishchenko, and Andrei Petrov, springs from their innovative and individual approaches to musical composition. Sergei Mikhailovich Slonimsky was born in Leningrad on August 12, 1932. His father was a prominent Soviet writer Mikhail Slonimsky, and his uncle the Russian-American conductor and musical lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky. Slonimsky received his training and served on the faculty at the Leningrad Conservatory, teaching composition and music theory. Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko was also born in Leningrad on March 23, 1939. Like Slonimsky, Tishchenko attended the Leningrad Conservatory. He pursued postgraduate work with Dmitri Shostakovich and became a close friend and perhaps, the most gifted pupil of the older composer. The works on this recording are performed by the Russian-American pianist Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein. She attended the Special Music School for gifted Children in Leningrad and later the Leningrad Conservatory. After completing her graduate and post-graduate studies, she was invited to join the faculty, a position she held until she departed for the United States in 1974.
Sergei Slonimsky, composer
Sonata for Piano, in one movement
Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein, piano

Boris Tishchenko, composer
Sonata for Piano No. 5, Op. 56
Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein, piano

"Tischenko's music is post-Soviet, posttonal, and almost postmodern. although the composer's nearly Prokofievan idiom still leaves its traces. This is altogether a stimulating work... Recorded sound is warm and colorful, close and detailed... anyone who can make the Slonimsky flow and navigate the Tishchenko has my admiration. The latter's second movement has more musical minefields than any mere human should have to encounter." (Fanfare)
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