Cui: 4 Piano Pieces, Op. 22

SKU: EB8126
$19.95

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  • Composer: César Cui
  • Instrumentation: Piano
  • Work: 4 Pieces, Op. 22
  • ISMN: 9790004175095
  • Size: 9.1 x 12.0 inches
  • Pages: 28

Description

Cesar Antonovitch Cui was born in Vilna in 1835 and died at the very old age of 83 in Petrograd, the present-day Leningrad. His father was a French officer who remained in Russia at the occasion of Napoleon's campaign in this country. He married a Lithuanian woman and found a position as French teacher in the secondary school in Vilna. Towards the age of 13, his son Cesar Cui began composing piano pieces which attracted the attention of Stanislav Moniuszko and led to the boy's receiving lessons in music theory. in 1851, at the age of 16, Cesar enrolled in the School of Engineering in St. Petersburg, thus putting an end to his musical training. He transferred to the Academy of Military Engineering in 1855, where he became professor of fortification methods in 1858.

Cesar Cui published various writings on military engineering which were esteemed among experts. Having attained the rank of lieutenant-general, he abandoned his military career in order to devote himself completely to music. Cui entered music history particularly due to his adherence to the group The Mighty Handful (Borodin, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov); he is undoubtedly the weakest of its members. He composed weil into his old age, achieving little success. Predominam among his works are piano music (some of which was later orchestrated), then songs with piano accompaniment, three string quartets, ten operas and three chamber operas for children. Besides composing, Cui was also active umil the turn of the century as a music critic and published, among other things, the book La musique en Russie in French in 18 81. Almost all of this works are unknown today, which is not surprising considering that they contain none of the originality of Cui's composer colleagues Borodin, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. As late as 1952 Gerald Abraham claimed (MGG - Volume 2, col. 1821, Kassel 1952): His piano pieces are to be considered at best as tasteful salon music. Without a doubt, the works of Chopin, but also those of Schumann and Liszt served as models to Cui. Nonetheless, we should judge his compositions today with more comprehension and try to see them in the light of rediscovered 19th-century music. Cui's Quatre Morceaux pour Piano, Op. 22 of 1883 mirror the flair of Petersburger salons. The influence of French and German piano music gives birth to Russian genre pieces with a Western flavour.

They are saturated with voluptuous melodies and marked by emotional exuberance. These pieces were gratifying prey to the piano-playing young ladies of the upper classes. lt is not surprising that these Morceaux, published by Bessel in Petersburg, quickly made their appearance in Western Europe, where they were distributed by Breitkopf & Härtel in coproduction with Bessel. This present edition is based on the first edition. The new perspectives opened up by the current nostalgia trend should certainly contribute to a more positive appreciation of this music.

Wiesbaden, Summer 1981

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