Classical Pointers

Apart from the horrid overprintng on the covers, this Russian Piano Music Series has much to commend it for musical explorers.

Innovative in his time and an early proponent of the whole-tone scale, the all but forgotten music of Vladimir Rebikov (1866-1920) foreshadowed composers like Debussy, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Copland and Villa-Lobos. His tiny experimental pieces tackle a variety of problems; the Chansons blanches, on white keys only, anticipate Constant Lambert’s 30 years on.

This survey has 42 little pieces in 50 minutes, outdoing in their brevity Webern’s to come, plus one of Rebikov’s few extended Lisztian Tableaux musical-psychologiques, a continuous stream-of-consciousness 20 minutes single movement.

Anthony Goldstone’s comprehensive notes draw you into this unique composer’s world, and he plays all the music with a winning flair, recorded close by his home in the village church at Alkborough, Lincolnshire.

Warmly recommended, and lots of worthwhile pieces to consider for piano teachers (who just might know The Christmas Tree ) [Scores available free on line]

—Peter Grahame Woolf