Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Leonid Sabaneev (1881-1968)

Leonid Sabaneev (1881-1968) is a new composer to me.  He began studying music at a young age at the Moscow Conservatory, but left to study physics and maths.  He did however return to music, but made a career as a music critic and writer, specialising in the composer Scriabin.  Wikipedia refers to a story of him writing a negative review of the first performance of Prokofiev's Scythian Suite, which had actually been cancelled.  According to the story,  Sabaneev had heard about the Suite from friends who had seen the score, and his review was based on this second hand information.  I haven't yet been able to find any corroboration for this on the internet, and would be interested to hear if anyone has any sources for this story.... His two works for piano trio have just been recorded by the German trio Ilona Then-Bergh (violin), Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) and Michael Schäfer (piano).  The Trio-Impromptu dates from 1907, and is a highly romantic and volatile work.  There is plenty of opportunity for all three instruments to show off, and the music swirls and surges from climax to climax, yet it ends surprisingly quitely, almost exhausted.  The second trio, named Sonata for piano, violin and cello, Op. 20 has the same swirling drama, but is a much darker, more tormented work.  It is certainly a striking piece, and the musicians here make a great case for the work.  A fascinating discovery.


  1. More on the "dry lab" review here: