BEETHOVEN: PIANO SONATA NO.32
EROICA VARIATIONS, POLONAISE & FANTASIA
Ludwig van Beethoven
INNA FALIKS, piano
"This CD is not for a casual listener, because anyone encountering it is destined to be drawn away from whatever they are doing to become entranced in the realm of Beethoven’s music by her outstanding pianism... While no one can deny Faliks’ talent and skills, her secret to raise that to a higher level summons out of her intellectual approach to what Beethoven intended in his compositions... While playing the music, Faliks is clearly focused on what Beethoven wanted to express and is not interested in attempting to become Beethoven at the keyboard as some other virtuoso performers have attempted. As a result, she creates a thoroughly unforced, enjoyable revelation of Beethoven’s genius while she performs as his medium. The CD is also a tribute to MSR’s superb quality recording standards."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [August 2021]
"What distinguishes her from other keyboard artists with impressive resumes is a keen perception of the harmonic and physical structure of the music she plays and an unerring ability to convey this to us in terms of emotion, clarity, and style. She puts them over in one irresistible package better than anyone you are likely to encounter. The fact that she is a Yamaha Artist also plays a part, as the beautifully defined registration of her instrument seems to free her to concentrate on matters of interpretation and communication."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [Spring 2021]
“In the old days of stores with a large selection of classical CDs, I browsed for hours and would have purchased this on the basis of its content alone. Here is my favorite piano sonata and my favorite set of variations, in a program with a couple of compositions I didn’t know - an unbeatable Beethoven recital. Played with strength and imagination, the performances are hard to beat. The program is perfectly ordered, opening with the lighter weight but charming Polonaise, followed by the hefty Variations. The Fantasia is a substantial eight-minute work vaguely reminiscent of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and offers an interesting break before one of the greatest piano works of all time, Beethoven’s final sonata… I have spent many years listening to Richter and Brendel play the variations, and with this new recording in my collection, I doubt that I’ll return to the old favorites as often. I find a couple of these variations rare examples of Beethoven’s musical humor—and Faliks does not miss them… I have purchased many CDs on the basis of their content. Rarely have the performances measured up to the music as well as here.”
Harrington, American Record Guide [May/June 2014]
[On “Music/Words” program, May 2 in Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston, Illinois] “Who can object to an all-Beethoven program? Faliks eagerly embraced the challenge of that monumental composer. She opened with his Polonaise in C, which begins with crashing chords, but includes delicate moments. She handled everything deftly, displaying speed and her formidable technique throughout. Her second number was Beethoven’s Fantasia, a free flowing fire-and-ice composition. It seemed an ideal match with her temperament... Faliks concluded the night with Sonata No. 32, giving the work a nimble, graceful performance, showing off her dexterity, as well as her dynamic reach... [the concert] was so carefully crafted and delightfully done that it resembled a salon experience. This imaginative event lasted just over an hour, but was as satisfying, actually even more so, than a program twice its length.”
Chicago Sun-Times, Arts & Entertainment [May 2014]
"authoritative and incisive performances of the Eroica Variations and the Op.111 Sonata... Faliks' honest technique and meticulous filigree merit admiration and respect.”
Jed Distler, Gramophone [May 2014]
“Inna Faliks is a pianist as brimful of ideas as she is endowed with talent. She draws a tone of deep sonority from her Yamaha piano, and one senses in her playing a technique of such reserves that she doesn’t even have to call on all of it for these works. That allows her to concentrate on matters of interpretation and communication, which, in the former case is penetrating, and in the latter, extraordinary… I really like, too, the idea of mixing lesser known Beethoven works with more familiar ones; it makes for an interesting program, and in the case of the Fantasia, a fun one… A wonderful release all around, and very strongly recommended.”
Jerry Dubins, Issue 37:5 Fanfare [May/June 2014]
WTTW CHICAGO TONIGHT
“It is something of a change in my recent experience to hear Beethoven's last piano sonata without having to sit through the previous thirty-one. All the pleasanter, too, that the rest of this CD is made up of comparative rarities, with opus numbers that make reasonable sense, played with proper panache by Inna Faliks… [The Op 35 Variations] is a virtuoso challenge taken up with ease by Miss Faliks… [In the Sonata] the final Arietta is again a set of variations, in which the insistent demisemiquaver figuration finds a natural apotheosis in a dozen bars of steady trilling, for a couple of bars actually in three sustained parts. This is the sort of thing I could never have managed in a month of Sundays, whereas Inna Faliks is apparently relaxed and totally at ease… It is most memorable music, memorably performed.”
Robert Anderson, Music & Vision [January 2014]
[ * * * * ] “I was not familiar with Inna Faliks until now, and neither apparently is our site, but one hopes that the newfound acquaintance will be developed further. She is a remarkable Ukrainian pianist with chops to burn, a forceful technique and extremely attentive spirit to that of Beethoven. This is a fine recital in warm, resonant sound that highlights the clarity and reasonable sense of balance and voicing that Faliks brings to the instrument. With a desirable program to boot, this is an easy item to recommend.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [January 2014]
ON INNA FALIKS' PERFORMANCES:
The New Yorker
"Faliks was… the star of this show, playing with her signature blend of lithe grace and raw power."
“A soloist in total command of her instrument… Inna Faliks’ piano playing will have you shouting bravo to the radio!”
Minnesota Public Radio
The music on this disc
is too unconventional to describe neatly. There are as many ways to play it as there are people who choose to play it. This is why the question “does the world need another Beethoven CD?” did not cause me too much grief while I was making this recording (though it did, of course, rear its taunting head). At any given moment, Beethoven is at once surprising and inevitable, direct and intricate, earthy and transcendent. Ever fresh, the music changes with each utterance. Recording it is a step in a wondrous journey. The four works on this disc present Beethoven’s boundless imagination in a number of guises.
Ukrainian-born American pianist Inna Faliks
has established herself as one of the most communicative, committed and poetic artists of her generation, presenting commanding performances of standard repertoire, as well as genre-bending interdisciplinary projects and work with contemporary composers. Beginning with acclaimed debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony, she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Middle East in recital and as a soloist with orchestra under conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Keith Lockhart and Eduardo Marturet.
Faliks has appeared on the world’s great stages, including Carnegie Hall, Salle Cortot, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. She has recently given acclaimed performances at Ravinia, National Gallery of Art, Beijing National Performing Arts Theater and Shanghai Oriental Theater; with Camerata Pacifica and Bodytraffic dance troupe; and at the Fazioli Series in Italy and Tel Aviv Museum. Based in Los Angeles, Faliks regularly tours in Europe and Asia, and has been featured on radio and television broadcasts around the world. Notable festival performances include the Portland International Piano Festival, Festival Internacional de Piano in Mexico, Music in the Mountains, Peninsula Festival, Mondo Musica Cremona, International Keyboard Festival in New York, Bargemusic, and Brevard, Chautauqua, Newport and Verbier. A sought-after chamber musician, she has collaborated with Gilbert Kalish, Fred Sherry, Antonio Lysy and others, and is a founding member of the Hollywood Piano Trio, with violinist Roberto Cani and cellist Robert deMaine.
She is also the founder and curator of the Music/Words series, which combines musical performance with readings by distinguished poets, and has been seen in venues like LPR in New York and the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. She has co-starred with Downton Abbey’s Lesley Nicol in Admission – One Shilling, a play about the life of pianist Dame Myra Hess, and tours with her one-woman monologue-recital Polonaise Fantasie - The Story of a Pianist.
Always in dialogue with leading composers, Faliks has had works composed for her by Richard Danielpour, Timo Andres, Clarice Assad, and others. She is the winner of many competitions, including the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and International Pro Musicis Award. Faliks is an active recording artist, with a discography of five critically acclaimed albums. In demand as an artist-teacher, she frequently adjudicates competitions, gives master classes and takes up Artist Residencies in conservatories and universities around the world. A Yamaha Artist, Faliks is currently Professor of Piano and Head of Piano at UCLA. [ www.innafaliks.com
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
POLONAISE IN C MAJOR, OP.89
EROICA VARIATIONS AND FUGUE IN E-FLAT, OP.35
Opening and Theme
Fugue and Finale
FANTASIA IN G MINOR, OP.77
PIANO SONATA NO.32 IN C MINOR, OP.111
I. Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato
II. Arietta (Adagio molto semplice e cantabile)