This concert organised by The Cobbe Collection Trust offers a rare chance to hear the music of Russian masters on the kind of Russian instrument they admired, possessed and performed upon. The c.1879 piano by the St Petersburg maker Jakob Becker is our most recent addition and appears to be identical to Tchaikovsky’s.

Becker’s name is now virtually forgotten (the company being renamed ‘Red October’ after the revolution did not help); in the second half of the 19th century he was a major force in Russian music. For the Tolstoy family the arrival of their Becker was an ‘event’. Supplying instruments for the royalty of Russia and Europe, Becker was the preferred maker for the composers so familiar to us – Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein, who toured Europe performing on his Becker, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scryabin, Glinka, to name a few.

Join Alexander Karpeyev for the ‘journey’ between the two Russian capitals, inspired by the Radischev’s novel of that name and representing a wonderful array of Russian 19th century music. Here is the link to live streaming on YouTube.

Alexander Karpeyev Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow: 70 years of Russian piano miniature

The programme:

  • Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) Mélodie, Op. 3, No.2 (1852)
  • Ivan Laskovsky (1799-1855) Penseé figutive, Op. 28 (1830s) Impromptu in F Minor (1830s)
  • Frédéric Liszt (1811-1886) Le Rossignol (Air russe de A. Alyabyev) from ‘Deux Mélodies russes’ (1853)
  • Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Nocturne, Op. 19, No.4 (1873), Scherzo humoristique, Op. 19, No.2 (1873), Thème original et variations, Op. 19, No.6 (1873)
  • Georgy Catoire (1861-1926)Rêverie, Op. 6, No.1 (1897), Prélude, Op. 6, No.2 (1897)
  • Nikolay Medtner (1880-1951) Märchen (Tale), Op. 14, No.2, ‘March of Paladin’ (1905-07)
  • Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Coronation March, arr. Tchaikovsky (1883)

With introduction about the piano by Alec Cobbe. The piano Alexander is playing is Grand piano by Jakob Becker, c.1879, St. Petersburg. It belonged to Sir Percy Hull, friend of Elgar and long time organist of Hereford Cathedral.

Alexander Karpeyev is a Russian pianist, who is resident in the UK and has performed throughout the UK and Europe and has also toured in the USA, Canada and Russia. ‘Sasha’ trained at the Moscow Conservatory and at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. ‘Sasha’ is passionate about communicating his ideas on Romantic 19th and early 20th century piano repertoire, and in particular exploring the works of virtuoso pianist-composers. A Medtner specialist, he became deeply immersed in Medtner’s music and approach to music-making while working on his doctoral degree, and his contact with unique performing practice informs his own playing.