Antonín Dvořák, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Max Reger, Robert Schumann
DARIA RABOTKINA, piano
“[Robert Schumann's Humoresque] is very challenging to play: in addition to technical complexity, it is organizationally sprawling and requires a pianist to pay close attention to its many individual elements while also clarifying, indeed almost imposing, a sense of larger structure on the tidbits. Rabotkina takes the full measure of the work, and indeed has a very clear handle both on its small and lovely touches and on its complex virtuosic requirements. It is a piece during which a listener’s attention can quite reasonably wander as long as the pianist brings the audience back repeatedly to the emotional (rather than structural) foundation on which Schumann built the work. This Rabotkina does with skill and understanding, resulting in a performance that, all on its own, renders this disc worth owning. But there is considerably more here... The Eight Humoresques by Dvořák, for example, collectively last nearly as long as Schumann’s work, but these are eight self-contained pieces with little to connect them except the personalization of feeling that each seems to express... Rabotkina downplays the underlying similarity of structure in favor of expressing the differing moods that the composer highlights, from amusement to sadness to sweetness to gentleness... The surprise on this disc is Max Reger’s Five Humoresques, because Reger is generally thought of as a rather stodgy and somewhat formidable composer, scarcely given to lightness of mood or expression... It is hard to think of a performer having fun with Reger, but Rabotkina does seem to enjoy these little pieces, and listeners will, too.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2018]
“The mischievous smile on Daria’s face on the booklet cover is an indication of the sinfully delicious pleasures to be enjoyed in the present CD… [Max Reger’s Humoresques] pose a challenge to the pianist’s artistry that Daria obviously accepts with relish!... [In the Schumann] Keeping the larger structure in mind while one relishes the delicious details requires the insight of as accomplished an artist as Rabotkina. The result is as satisfying an account as I have heard of this work.”
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [September 2018]
PROGRAM NOTESThe humoresque exists because authors and composers made it so. It is not a form, it does not have a clear-cut meaning, and it certainly is not always funny. The author of the first significant musical Humoresque, Robert Schumann lamented to a friend in a letter about the lack of an adequate translation of this German word in French. The best the English language offers are the words “funny,” “sensitive,” “cozy,” and “witty.” A term of complexity and elegance, it inspired a handful of composers to explore its various sides and was revived in works of diverse magnitude. It is a curious fact that Schumann’s original humoresque is many times the size of the other miniatures with this name. Each composer approached the genre with blazing idiosyncrasy. It seems that the Humoresque medium embraced their personal peculiarities in a way that other genres seldom do. For good measure, Dvořak, Reger and Rachmaninoff wrote their Humoresques in the last six years of the 19th century. Not that I think that they conspired on this together, but it is a curiously narrow window of time for such obscure genre. It is fascinating to consider why these three, strikingly different composers all arrived at this form at the same time.
Born in Kazan, Russia, into a family of musicians, Daria Rabotkina gave her first solo recital at the age of ten, and has over the years developed a notable career as a pianist. Rabotkina’s concerto performance highlights include engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, Hudson Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony and Harrisburg Symphony, and internationally with the Kirov Orchestra at the Mariinsky Theatre, Moscow State Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Concepcion and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, where she played Leonard Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety. She has performed under the batons of numerous noted conductors, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Feltsman, Julian Kuerti, JoAnn Falletta, Benjamin Shwartz and Giancarlo Guerrero. Rabotkina has given recitals at the Kennedy Center with the Washington Performing Arts Society, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Ravinia’s Rising Stars series, Dame Myra Hess and PianoForte Salon series in the Chicago area, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and in Denmark, Switzerland and Japan.
Winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Rabotkina has received top prizes at many international competitions and participated in Russia’s White Nights Festival, Finland’s Kuhmo Festival, Copenhagen’s Summer Festival and Germany’s MusikFest in Kreuth. In the United States, Rabotkina has appeared at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Music Academy of the West and PianoSummer in New Paltz.
An active recording artist, Rabotkina has released three critically acclaimed albums, all part of the Victor Elmaleh Collection: her debut recital featuring Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata and Prokofiev’s Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and a third that features live recordings of three concertos. Rabotkina received her education at the Kazan State Conservatory and Mannes College of Music in New York City under the tutelage of Vladimir Feltsman. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and the Artist Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Natalya Antonova. She has taught at the Kazan State Conservatory, Music School of New York City and Eastman School of Music. Rabotkina joined the music faculty at Texas State University as Assistant Professor of Piano in the fall of 2016.
[ www.dariarabotkina.com ]
PROGRAMANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
EIGHT HUMORESQUES, OP.101 (1894)
Poco andante e molto cantabile
Poco lento e grazioso
MAX REGER (1873-1916)
FIVE HUMORESQUES, OP.20 (1896)
Presto – Andante
SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
HUMORESQUE, OP.10, NO.5 (Morceaux de salon) (1894)
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
HUMORESQUE, OP.20 (1839)
Einfach – Sehr Rasch und leicht – Wie im Anfang
Hastig – Nach und nach immer lebhafter und starker - Wie vorher – Adagio
Einfach und zart – Intermezzo – (Einfach und zart)
Innig – Schneller – (Innig)
Sehr lebhaft – Immer lebhafter – Stretta
Mit einigem Pomp