One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Crotchet

Sofia GUBA¤DULINA (b. 1931)
Complete Works for Solo Piano
Chaconne (1963) [8:41]
Musical Toys (1969) (Mechanical Accordion [0:31]
Magic Roundabout [0:37]
The Trumpeter in the Forest [1:31]
The Magic Smith [0:59]
April Day [1:03]
Song of the Fisherman [1:36]
The little Tit [1:12]
A Bear Playing the Double Bass and the Black Woman [0:56]
The Woodpecker [2:12]
The Elk Clearing [1:06]
Sleigh with Little Bells [00:46]
The Echo [1:58]
The Drummer [1:27]
Forest Musicians [2:18])
Sonata (1965): I. Allegro [11:44] II. Adagio [6:28] III. Allegretto [3:43])
Toccata-Troncata (1971) [2:21]
Invention (1974) [1:08]
Marcela Roggeri (piano)
rec. August, 2007, Reims, France. DDD
TRANSART TR161 [52:52]
Experience Classicsonline

The Russian (Tatar) composer Sofia Guba´dulina is probably best appreciated for her searing and searching symphonic music. Her St John Passion and Canticle of the Sun leave one shellshocked by their austerity and by a kind of barren passion. It's the acute spareness, and ravishing attachment to her vision of the sacred, with Muslim and Slavonic roots, that inspire. So what to expect from her solo piano music? She initially studied piano at the Kazan Conservatory and admits to regarding the instrument as a source of fun and experimentation from her childhood; then she and her sister would, presumably, improvise. Guba´dulina remains an accomplished pianist.
Musical Toys is a collection for children. Miniatures redolent of Bartˇk's Mikrokosmos, they evoke a surprisingly wide field of emotions, thoughts and possibilities. No piece is longer than two and a half minutes; the shortest is timed at just 31 seconds. But these are no fragments. It's to the great credit of Argentinean pianist, Marcela Roggeri, that Guba´dulina's pleasing and almost effortless integrity and vision remain with the listener long after hearing the 14 pieces from beginning to end: deeply satisfying. The movements contain the perhaps inevitable musical onomatopoeia of birds' beaks, bells, drum-rolls and the like. These are never intrusive; Roggeri approaches them quite unselfconsciously and in such a way that they add to our appreciation of the intended musical development. Just what's wanted.

The Sonata, although written in 1965, was not published for almost ten years. In this work it is again sound that interests Guba´dulina. The piano is 'prepared' and its natural structureá as a physical instrument - the resonances of the sound-board, for example - are exploited. It's violent music. Its impact is also made by contrasts between tension and relaxation. In some ways the control of chaos - admirably accomplished by Roggeri - is akin to the large-scale unwinding and corralling of musical ideas in a work like the Offertorium violin concerto.

There is a Bach-like quality to many of the pieces on this disc: the Chaconne, Invention and Musical Toys: Magic Roundabout [trs.1, 20, 3] in particular. But Bach in the way that Shostakovich knew him. The counterpoint, contrast and forward movement in his 24 Preludes for Piano are present here. Musical Toys: The Drummer [tr.14], for example, could almost be extracted from that work. In the Chaconne, one of Guba´dulina's earliest acknowledged works, she not only nods in the direction of another arranger of Bach, Busoni, but also consciously looks to the sonorities of the organ. In the Musical Toys collection, from six years later, there are also influences of jazz, Bartˇk and Prokoviev amongst others: there is both dissonance and a tonal centre.

Toccata-Troncata and Invention also display disparate influences ů Bach again, ostinato techniques and an attention to the acoustics of the piano. Again, Roggeri is on top form. Her playing is trenchant yet full of feeling. Quite an achievement and one that only comes from a mixture of confidence and familiarity with the idiom and dedication to and fondness for the composer. These Roggeri has in abundance.

Diana Baker has a complete piano works (on Stradivarius 33756) in which she too is more than up to the demands of the same works - particularly the Sonata. But the playing of Roggeri on this cleanly-recorded (live) Transart CD has everything of subtlety, poise, detachment and above all a gracious interpretative thoughtfulness that make this the recording to go for. Her playing is both commanding and inquisitive: the way she seems to be hearing the highly challenging Allegro of the Sonata [tr.16] for the first time, for example, brings out its freshness and spontaneity; yet her reading never misses a beat.

This CD, then, contains a great repository of somewhat unusual yet very compelling music. One can hardly listen to it without reassessing one's appreciation of Sofia Guba´dulina. That reassessment - thanks to the perception of Marcela Roggeri - is going to lead to a wider and deeper one.

There is more variety in the concentrated and charged piano music of Sofia Guba´dulina than you might expect. Its insistence, caustic emotion and tidiness mixed with external musical associations need a perceptive pianist. Marcela Roggeri is such a one.
Mark Sealey


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.