"[Feoktistova] has a nice sound and good articulation..."
Vroon, American Record Guide [January/February 2022]
"Irina Feoktistova has revealed her utmost admiration and devotion to these compositions by giving her own personal stamp of affection that is, deservedly, well-appointed... the Etude in F minor gives strong testament to Mlle Feoktistova’s technical prowess... Irina Feoktistova has strong feelings about how she connects to Frédéric Chopin, and this CD has some intriguing qualities and nuances throughout."
Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet [June 2021]
"[This] is a fine program...beginning with the most elusive Ballade of the four, the F-Minor, op. 52, in a finely structured performance full of sweet tone... The title of the disc is Chopin the Enchanter, and there is certainly plenty of enchantment go Feoktistova’s playing... One has to admire Feoktistova’s technique Feoktistova’s sense of narration is superb."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [January/February 2022]
"Her articulation is clear, her rhythmic flow secure... This is good Chopin playing."
Michael Ullman, Fanfare [January/February 2022]
"As a lover of piano music, I have a huge collection of Chopin recordings, beginning with the first ones by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, continuing to Martha Argerich and to present day Daniil Trifonov. But none of them may be as thoughtfully and sensitively driven as “Chopin the Enchanter” by Russian pianist Irina Feoktistova.... Her captivating recording results from a lifelong fascination and study of Chopin’s piano compositions... Here we find also a tie to the composer himself through her devotion to him, not just an objective to deliver a virtuoso performance... she conveys a personal take on Chopin, but well worth hearing in the context of his genius and her exemplary ability to express it."
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [October 2021]
"Here is a release characterized by beautifully considered and emotive piano playing... This is a very personal selection of Chopin’s works, more than an hour and a quarter of presentation of music that clearly has considerable meaning to Feoktistova... [Feoktistova performs all 25 pieces with] polished skill and emotional surety... anyone already familiar with Chopin’s music in general and these pieces in particular will find much to like in the individual performances here."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [October 2021]
PROGRAM NOTESThe solo piano compositions of Frédéric Chopin represent the great wealth of musical ideas, innovations and lyricism of the Romantic era. Featuring the musical and dance forms of polonaise, mazurka, ballade, nocturne, prelude, etude, waltz, scherzo and impromptu, Chopin departed from the realm of musical formality. Improvisation and virtuosity within a given structure communicated Chopin’s deep personal sentiments and, to a great extent, human sensuality. Many of his compositions are addressed to disciples, supporters, admirers and fellow musicians, as well as to numerous Polish ex-patriots. Chopin was a private man, and had little to no interest in giving public concerts, preferring to perform in salons, and even more-so for his close circle of friends.
The works in this album were chosen by Irina Feoktistova to represent her deep devotion to the music of Frédéric Chopin. Her performances are notable for the confidence she brings to the music, and for her careful conveyance of its many and complex nuances. In the words of Feoktistova: “playing Chopin is like following the thread of Ariadne, catching the mood and never letting it go, observing all the intricate changes and nuances, allowing myself to be enchanted and mesmerized by the subtle beauty of the thoughts and feelings transformed into music by this poet of the piano”. [Jamie Rubinshteyn]
A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, pianist Irina Feoktistova has performed in the major concert halls of the United States, Europe and Russia as a soloist, duo pianist and accompanist. As a soloist, Feoktistova was featured in The Fazioli Salon Series in a live broadcast on WFMT radio in Chicago, and gave a series of concerts with the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders. She gave her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist and accompanist for Russian singer Vladimir Galouzine for a Russia Day concert. She currently performs extensively in the Chicago area, including appearances at Roosevelt, Loyola, Northwestern and DePaul Universities. As a duo-pianist, she was chosen from among 260 participants in the Park Lane Group auditions to perform in the Purcell Room of London’s Royal Festival Hall, and participated in the Ninth International Sound Ways New Music Festival. Her Polianovskaja-Feoktistova Duo won third prize at the First International Competition of Contemporary Music Interpretation in Germany. In the role as collaborator, she has worked with numerous notable musicians and singers, including the internationally acclaimed Baroque trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins and basso-profundo Andrea Silvestrelli. Feoktistova is particularly active in projects concerning American and Russian contemporary music, and has been affiliated with the CUBE, MAVerick and Vox3 ensembles in Chicago, as well as with the Union of Composers in St. Petersburg, where she performed at the 41st Musical Spring Festival. She has also participated in John Cage’s Musicircus events organized by the Chicago Composers Forum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2007, Feoktistova initiated the Scriabin Colors in Music program in which her performances were accompanied by colorful animation projections. She recently revived Colors in Music with visual artist Evgenia Pirshina focusing on her recordings of Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No.5 and Vers la flamme. For the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Feoktistova worked as a coach and interpreter for tenor Vladimir Galouzine who was singing Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Turandot and served as backstage pianist for Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and organist for his Die frau ohne schatten. She was also an assistant conductor for their production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and a vocal coach and accompanist for Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades. For the Chicago Opera Theater, she worked on a production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Rachmaninoff’s Aleko. An active recording artist and winner of the Kawai Recording Competition, Feoktistova’s recordings include both classical and contemporary music, including Barber’s Hermit Songs with Russian singer Elena Antonenko, a CD of Russian and American contemporary music entitled Musical Bridge: Chicago√St.Petersburg, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King with the Millennium Chamber Players. On the MSR Classics label, she has released Poems & Fairy Tales [MS1326] and Scriabin’s Sonata No.5 [DD5032]. Feoktistova is on the faculty of Northwestern University and on the staff of the Ryan Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is also affiliated with Chicago Children Choir and Apollo Chorus of Chicago. [ www.irinafeoktistova.com ]
PROGRAMFRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810–1849)
Ballade No.4 in F minor, Op.52
Mazurka in A minor, Op.17, No.4
Mazurka in A minor, Op.7, No.2
Mazurka in A minor, Op.68, No.2 (Posthumous)
Etude in A-flat major, Op.25, No.1
Mazurka in G-sharp minor, Op.33, No.1
Mazurka in G minor, Op.67, No.2 (Posthumous)
Mazurka in F-sharp minor, Op.6, No.1
Prelude No.10 in C-sharp minor, Op.28
Mazurka in C-sharp minor, Op.63, No.3
Mazurka in D major, Op.33, No.2
Nocturne in E-flat major, Op.9, No.2
Mazurka in C major, Op.67, No.3 (Posthumous)
Mazurka in A minor, Op.67, No.4 (Posthumous)
Mazurka in C major, Op.24, No.2
Prelude No.18 in F minor, Op.28
Etude in F minor, Op.25, No.2
Mazurka in F minor, Op.68, No.4 (Posthumous)
Mazurka in B-flat minor, Op.24, No.4
Mazurka in B-flat major, Op.7, No.1
Mazurka in B minor, Op.33, No.4
Prelude No.4 in E minor, Op.28
Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op.64, No.2
Prelude in A major, No.7, Op.28
Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op.66, No.4