Daria Telizyn plays Tchaikovsky – CR3809
£9.99 – £23.99
“You are urged to obtain her performance of the Liszt. It is the most thoughtful and beautiful performance you will ever hear”
“She was a woman of great beauty and spirit, a passionate Ukrainian with a talent that was unsurpassed”
Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky’s music retains its hold on wide audiences today as it did in his time. Its devotees revel in the beguiling melodies (often punctuated by Russian and Ukrainian dance rhythms and harmonies), in the intense emotionalism and sensitivity that reflected his troubled life. Tchaikovsky’s is a musical autobiography of innermost feelings, of grief and torment reaching out for tenderness, lyrical melancholy interrupted by episodes of elation.
Not so for musicologists and critics. Today, as then, they acknowledge his genius, yet focus on the excess of emotionalism, the occasional lapses into poor taste that borders on vulgarity. They dismiss his works as parlor-type sentimentality, delightful to listen to but devoid of musicality and formal development and utterly lacking in the elegance and poise of the best of Western music.
Are such pronouncements beyond appeal? Must one accept the limits imposed upon Tchaikovsky’s music by the high priests?
Daria Telizyn took up the challenge (perhaps it was Tchaikovsky’s) of finding/providing the musicality in the performance. The extent to which she succeeded was evident to the music critic of the Sulzbacher Zeitung, who wrote of one of her recitals in Germany: “Were these pieces, perhaps, supposed to be something more than sentimental Schumann adulation? those who heard Daria Telizyn’s interpretation of ‘The Autumn Song’ could not doubt it. Her playing gave expression to abandon and to soft restlessness-nuances of a thoroughly convincing assertiveness. In the remaining pieces Telizyn also shunned perfunctory salon sentimentality, playing the ‘Troika’ mysteriously soft and, in the ‘Waltz of Flowers’, taking pains to counter the blissfulness of the melody with a robust stress of the rhythm”.
Earlier recitals in Germany elicited similar responses: “It was followed by six emotionally different pieces by Tchaikovsky, the melodic continuity here again consciously restrained. In the ‘Autumn Song’ one could hear each single leaf fall. ‘Dunka’, a melancholy, sentimental folk ballad, terminated with a startling, thunderous final chord”.
“It is not altogether easy for a pianist to elicit something musical from piano works which require little virtuosity-and precisely in this lies the art. In her playing Daria Telizyn shows herself in supreme form and especially as far as the interpretive requirements are concerned. Each single measure seems perfectly thought out. She almost revels in the exciting moments, ritardandos and pianissimo passages”.
‘Tchaikovsky’s piano pieces are indeed beautiful to listen to, but they move on the verge of sentimental parlor-type music. But Daria Telizyn must be commended for devoting herself with feeling, with beautiful, carefully thought-out touch and warmth to these pieces, rarely performed in a concert hall”.
“Little Jewels” Tchaikovsky’s works for the piano have been called. And this album contains ten of them – each one exquisite, a beautiful melody carrying emotions along. Were they all to sparkle the same, boredom would surely set in. But Daria Telizyn, as would a master gemstone cutter, brings out each jewel’s distinct fire and ice, creates the settings that transport the listeners imagination to ever new places. Emphasising tone and colour, she makes each one somehow differently expressive and lyrical, brings out the contrast and musicality the musicologists insist isn’t there. Gaze into each jewel’s depths, be mesmerised and swept away, hear the distinct sounds of an orchestra’s individual instruments coming from her piano.
Romance Op.5 in F minor.
An “Andante cantabile”, composed of a languorous, curving melody, alternates with an “Allegro energico” made up of short, dance-like Slavic-flavoured figures. The distant, dreamy coda suggests an echo from the past.
“Autumn Song” (October), Op.37 II, No.10 in D Major. One of 12 pieces constituting ‘The Seasons”, a suite written in 1876 in which Tchaikovsky recreates the musical atmosphere for each of the 12 months, from January to December. The nostalgic opening, suggesting the end of summer’s warmth and brightness, gives way to a middle section of melodic lines that descend like falling leaves, and returns. A pp coda dies away into a barely audible ppp, suggesting the close of the season.
“Barcarolle” (June), Op.37 II, No.6 in G minor. The introductory A section, marked “Andante cantabile”, consists of a hopeful melody rising over a lilting accompaniment. The B section, “Poco piu mosso”, begins with distant pastoral horn thirds and builds to an exuberant fortissimo-perhaps the joy of nature? The opening section returns complete. The coda, after a falling distant line, changes its mind and quickly climbs to end on a note of hope.
“Troika” (November), Op.37 II No.11 in E major opens with a sprightly tune, marked “Allegro moderato”, hinting at a sleigh ride. The middle section is a “grazioso”, with grace notes in the upper register suggesting sleigh bells, the opening melody returns in the left hand under 16th notes in the right hand, fluttering like snow flakes. A pp coda sees the sleigh going off into the distance.
March from “The Nutcracker”, Op.71/a. in G Major. Based on the “Nutcracker Orchestral Suite^’ and the ballet. Although written in 1892, during a period of severe mental stress near the end of the composer’s life, the piece contains a wealth of melody and musical imagination. The light-hearted mood so rare in Tchaikovsky’s works — reflects the delight and wonder of a child’s fanciful world. Set forth by clarinets, horns and trumpets, the triplet march rhythm, normally associated with military flourishes, takes on a fanciful quality. The contrasting middle section presents a staccato theme in the high register. The first part is repeated and the piece ends fortissimo.
“Waltz of the Flowers” from “The Nutcracker”, Op.7I/a. The introduction alternates chords by the woodwinds and the horns with arpeggios on the harp, then concludes with a striking cadenza, originally for harp, the middle section presents a second waltz. The first waltz is repeated and then the piece works up to a climax through a steady crescendo, an accelerando and a rise to the upper register. The final measure, with its suggestion of swirling ballerinas, is marked fff.
“Sentimental Waltz”, Op.51, No.6 in F minor opens with a rising Chopinesque melody over a typical 3/4 accompaniment, which recurs in four slightly altered and dynamically different versions. After one louder and accentuated passage, the initial melody returns. The B section begins “Tranquillo”, only to break into a f, which leads to a “piu presto” climax, the opening returns in its entirety, the piece ends with a sudden flourish, a descending rapid scale, and dissipates into pp and silence.
“Reveries interrompue”, Op.40, No.12 intimates a rhapsodic dream sequence. The introduction, marked “Andante un poco rubato e con molto espressione”, consists of a subtle opening that breaks into a tortured nightmarish sequence, then quietly recapitulates. A “Moderato” section follows, with a sweet melody split between the hands and accompanied by broken chords which hint at unreality. A “dolcissimo” melody appears as contrast, over a hypnotic accompaniment. The “Moderato” melody returns briefly. The piece ends with a pp return of the “dolcissimo” melody, this time gradually fading away.
“Humoresque”, Op. 10, No.2 begins in E minor but plunges into G major, where it stays for the remainder of the opening. Though rhythmically extremely precise, the piece is capricious in its tonal scheme. (Indeed, the title itself suggests a capricious mood). The note D sharp, a prominent feature of the opening bars and an intruder into the coda, forms an enharmonic link with the calm interlude in E flat major, in which the chromatism stands out in contrast to the surrounding diatonic sections.
“Dumka”, Op.59 in C minor. The most complex, virtuosic, yet meaningful piece in this collection. The mournful opening, marked “Andante cantabile”, presents a typically Russian germ motive of two or three rapidly descending notes, the left hand takes over the melody, in the vein of a cello, under a light fluttering right-hand accompaniment. The introduction builds in dynamics and velocity, though always evolving from the initial material. A “Con anima” section, very suggestive of Slavic dance rhythms, interrupts, then itself gives way to a hypnotically sedate passage, which serves as a bridge to the cadenza. A typically Romantic virtuosic flourish, the cadenza leads to a rising, tempestuous octave passage, marked “Moderato con fuoco”. All fury is unleashed, as the piece builds in speed, dynamics and range. Then the storm subsides and the initial lament reappears, this time an octave lower. Seemingly, peace has returned, only to be shattered by a final barrage of thundering, jolting C minor ff chords.
Though written by a man engaged in a life-long struggle with depression, these works are anything but depressing. Sad and sentimental, yes, but also sparkling for brief moments with lightness, even elation.
And always — emotionalism and the love of beauty.
© 2002 George Sajewych
Daria Telizyn – Pianist (1960 – 2005)
Two triumphant U.S. tours with Kyiv Chamber Orchestra confirmed Daria Telizyn’s place as one of the rising stars of classical music. Reviews were invariably filled with superlatives: “Telizyn made the piano sing, even in powerful tone clusters, but especially in more gentle, single-line melodies, soulful and zealous”. (Albany Times Union)
“Heightening the concerto’s piquancy was Telizyn, whose lithe fingers, by turns, caressed and stormed the keyboard with delicate dance motions, singing tone and fierce attacks. Her pianism is phenomenal”. (The Berkshire Eagle)
‘The Schnitke piece, featuring skilled solos by pianist Daria Telizyn, was a phantasmagoria of harrowing and tender interludes almost cinematographic in concept”. (The Washington Post) This is the kind of response the Canadian-born pianist has been eliciting for over two decades. In 1988 Claudio Records released ”Daria Telizyn Plays Liszt”; (Claudio CR3705) in 1990, the world premiere recording of Liszt’s “Grande Fantasie Symphonique” and “Totentanz”, (Claudio CR4012) performed with the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra. Both CD’s won critical acclaim and received wide airplay in Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and other major U.S. and Canadian cities.
As a long time resident of Washington, she established herself as a musical presence in the capital. Wrote “The Washington Post” on different occasions: “Telizyn immediately displayed deep musicality and sensitive phrasing and construction”; ” She produced a strong, beautiful sound from deep within the keys. She offered thoughtful and persuasive playing that incorporated a dazzling lightness and clarity of chromatic runs into the music’s formal outline”; and, after her performance of Liszt’s B minor Sonata at the National Gallery of Art, broadcast live by WGMS, “There were moments of sheer brilliance, and Telizyn fully deserved the standing ovation that followed”.
Her concert career has taken her to London, Paris, Brussels, Toronto, Kiev, Mexico, Holland, Germany and Austria. Recent performances have included Mozart’s Concerto for two Pianos with various U.S. orchestras, a tour of Germany and Austria with the Washington Symphony with Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Liszt’s “Totentanz”, Mozart with the Mexico State Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto No.l’ and Revutsky’s “Piano Concerto” with the National Symphony of Ukraine. Plans for the near future include U.S. tours with the Lysenko String Quartet, and a tour with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.
Daria enchanted audiences. The eminent Dutch critic, Jan van Voorthuysen wrote, ”Even if I had only heard Liszt’s notorious grand Sonata in B minor, I would have been convinced that I have heard one of the greatest pianists. A year ago I heard her first teacher more than once and I am sure he could not have equalled her, for he could not have equalled Horowitz or Andor Foldes, whereas Daria Telizyn did! And with the greatest of ease! After having heard 10,000 concerts, after having written more than 8,600 reviews, and after having heard the Liszt sonata countless times, I feel simply bound to declare that after Daria Telizyn’s unbelieveasble performance I feel completely flabbergasted”.
She moved to Florida and endured a series of illnesses. She picked up and went back to playing but this was short-lived and she had emrgency surgery in Dunedin, Florida but, sadly, died on 21 March 2005, ten days short of her 45th birthday.
She was a woman of great beauty and spirit, a passionate Ukrainian with a talent that was unsurpassed.
You are urged to obtain her performance of the Liszt. It is the most thoughtful and beautiful performance you will ever hear.
On 2 June 2006, a benefit concert was held in her memory to assist young Ukrainian musicians at the University of Maryland in the William Kapell International Piano Competition.
© David C F Wright 2009
“Years ago I heard her first teacher more than once and I am sure he could not have equalled her, for he could not have equalled Horowitz or Andor Foldes, whereas Daria Telizyn did! And with the greatest of ease! After having heard more than 10,000 concerts and after having written more than 8,600 reviews, after having heard the Liszt Sonata countless times, I simply feel bound to declare that after Daria Telizyn’s unbelievable performance I feel completely flabbergasted.”
Adam Czarnowski (YouTube)