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Pianist to perform works of Russian composers

Gleb Ivanov

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Pianist Gleb Ivanov will return to Taos this weekend to immerse his audience in three days of Russian music at the Harwood Museum of Art.

The Moscow-born musician will perform a solo recital of Sergei Prokofiev sonatas. Ivanov has been playing all 11 of the composer’s sonatas in concerts in Boston and New York.

On Friday, Dec. 13, Ivanov will perform sonatas number 1, 2, 3 and 8 in Taos. Some critics consider them among the finest works in the repertoire. The first was written when Prokofiev was still a student. The third is an explosion of virtuosity.

“It’s a complete tour de force of emotion and technical demands,” Taos Chamber Music Group director and flutist Nancy Laupheimer said.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15, Ivanov and the chamber musicians will perform music by the lesser-known Russian composers Alexander Borodin (the “Piano Trio in D Major”), Mikhail Glinka (“Trio Pathétique in D Minor”) and Anton Arensky (“Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor”).

The Borodin is an incomplete trio, Laupheimer said.

“He never completed the fourth movement,” she said. “It’s really lovely.”

Borodin was a chemist and a Romantic composer. He was one of the prominent 19th-century composers known as “The Mighty Handful,” a group dedicated to producing a uniquely Russian kind of classical music, rather than imitating earlier Western European models.

Glinka was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the fountainhead of Russian classical music. Arensky was a composer of Romantic classical music, a pianist and a professor of music.

“I’ve tried to keep it light,” Laupheimer said, “because most Russian music is so dark. The Arensky is deep and beautiful.”

Now living in New York, Ivanov was awarded the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, which brought him his Lincoln Center recital debut and a rave New York Times review. While he was growing up in Russia, he was a protégé of the great cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich.

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