P0899. ALEXEI LUBIMOV: Préludes – Books I & II (Debussy). (Russia) 2-Melodiya 10 002002, recorded 1971 (Lubimov’s first Debussy recording). Final Copy! - 4600317120024
"You know, Debussy was one of the most important composers through my life, and I discovered him when I was in the conservatory getting through the class of Heinrich Neuhaus, a great teacher and a great pianist of the first half of the 20th century. I played some works of Debussy and, step by step, I understood the Préludes as a set of pieces, like a summary of aesthetics, philosophy and musical discoveries. I hope I touch not only the texts of the score. I tried…with the help of knowing the other music of Debussy and surrounding music, to give a kind of a multi-vision [of Debussy], because he is one of the composers, one of the few composers, who had some special vision. I have to say multi-visions, not only in sounds but in pictures, are in his instincts, and his feeling of musical space and some kind of state of mind."
- Alexei Lubimov
“Born in Moscow in 1944, Alexei Lubimov is one of the most strikingly original and outstanding pianists performing today. His large repertoire combined with his dedication to principle and musical morals make him a notable exception in today’s music scene.
Following studies at the Moscow Conservatory with Heinrich Neuhaus, Lubimov early in life established a dual passion for Baroque music performed on traditional instruments and for 20th century composers ranging from Schönberg, Stockhausen, Boulez, Ives and Ligeti, to his contemporaries Sofia Gubaidulina and Arvo Pärt. He first attracted notice with his compelling performances of modern scores, and in 1968 played the Moscow debuts of works by John Cage and Terry Riley. He premiered many 20th century pieces in Russia, where Soviet authorities heavily criticized his commitment to Western music and prevented him from leaving the Soviet Union for several years. So Lubimov concentrated on working with period (original) instruments of the 16th and 17th centuries, and founded the Moscow Baroque Quartet and the Moscow Chamber Academy, as well as the avant-garde music festival ‘Alternativa’ in 1988. He continues to perform both ‘old’ and ‘new’ music on his many recordings, and also records classical and romantic repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Political restrictions were lifted during the 1980’s, and Lubimov soon emerged among the first rank of international pianists, performing on tour in Europe, North America and Japan. He made his U.S. début in 1991 as soloist with Andrew Parrott and his Classical Band in New York. Lubimov has since played piano concerti with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and with the Philharmonics of Helsinki, Israel, Munich and St. Petersburg, the Royal Philharmonic in London, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonie de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin, and the Toronto Symphony. He performs with the world’s most important international conductors, including Ashkenazy, Järvi, Kondrashin, Hogwood, Mackerras, Nagano, Norrington, Pletnev, Saraste, Salonen, Janovski and Tortelier. Alexei Lubimov has given historic performances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Wiener Akademie and the Collegium Vocale Gent.
In recent seasons Alexei Lubimov has given numerous solo recitals and concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow and the Tonkünstlerorchester in the Great Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein. He toured with the Haydn Sinfonietta playing Mozart concertos, played Mozart with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana under Robert King, Haydn with the Camerata Salzburg under Sir Roger Norrington in New York, and Pärt’s Lamentate with the RSO Vienna under Andrey Boreyko at the Musikverein and with the Tampere Philharmonic under John Storgards. He performed PROMETEUS by Scriabin at the 2010 Salzburg Festival and in Copenhagen, and played concertos with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment (Beethoven), Munich Philharmonic (Silvestrov), SWR Stuttgart (Pärt), DSO Berlin (Pärt), Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Pärt), Anima Eterna Brugge and Russian National Orchestra. In 2010 he played recitals in Brussels, Utrecht, Budapest, Lille, London, Los Angeles and New York, where he returned in 2011 for performances with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under conductor Ivan Fischer.
Lubimov says that after chancing upon an old Steinway stationed in the Polish Embassy in Brussels (the instrument Paderewski himself played, or so the story goes), he began thinking about Debussy differently — about the rich colors not just in Debussy's writing, but even more so in his own piano playing. Lubimov brings great clarity to the Préludes; there are no soapy washes of sound here, even in the most ruminative and dreamy portions, like ‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’ or ‘Canope’. Every dynamic marking is finely rendered, from the softest pianos to the most clangorous fortes, and Lubimov handles Debussy's changes of mood and temper just as skillfully.”
- Anastasia Tsioulcas, DECEPTIVE CADENCE, 24 July, 2012 (reviewing Lubimov's second Debussy recording, 2012)
“[Lubimov’s] unique and compelling interpretations are always tasteful and imaginative….His are not textbook examples of utmost fidelity to the printed score, or traditional interpretations. Nor is he doing anything remotely outlandish. He makes you listen closely and think.”
- James Harrington, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2012