Piano Works by Sara Feigin
Performed by Benjamin Goodman
This latest record from Navona Records is a treasure trove of piano music by the late composer and pianist Sarah Feigin. Led by Carmela O’Flaherty, the composer’s daughter, the project consists nearly entirely of previously unperformed and unrecorded works for piano. Pianist Benjamin Goodman masterfully interprets her vibrant, virtuosic music.
Feigin’s music is full of formidable technical challenges for the pianist, most readily apparent in her breathless and frenetic Toccata, based on a folk theme from her native Latvia. Her interest in folk elements is inseparable from her concern with human suffering. Her Sonata is the best example of this. It contains some of her most visceral and emotional writing, building to the third movement, titled The Last Way. This movement was dedicated to the victims of Latvia’s Babi Yar concentration camp, and draws from Joseph Kuzkovsky’s painting depicting the carnage, “Led to the Slaughter – Babi Yar.”
Goodman writes: “For the pianist, it is such an exciting and emotionally challenging experience to play such music – it demands every ounce of concentration and energy in order to play these sections successfully.” It is Feigin’s humanitarian approach to these topics that make the music resonate with the listener. Her lighter pieces are also a treat. The Four Scenes display her deftness at composing in various styles, with a spectrum of different tones and moods. Variations is derived from a simple melody, recalling her interest in folk elements. The melody undergoes increasingly complex and virtuosic transformations, before returning to its humble roots. Feigin already leaves a legacy in Israel as an influential music pedagogue. This record broadens Feigin’s legacy to include her passionate and profound piano music.
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Catalog #: NV6147
Format: Digital and CD
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