Reviews

Stuart Scott (2014)
Composer, Music Lecturer and Writer
With the issue of this disc, Boris Bekhterev completes his cycle of Scriabin’s sonatas for Camerata and provides carefully thought out and imaginative readings of all three works.

Sonata No.3 Op.23… There are few pianists who capture the substance of this sonata so well as Bekhterev. There is drama, light, shadow and colourful tenderness in his playing with constant attention to changing moods. The second movement (allegretto) explores a wide range of ideas in a short space of time requiring much flexibility from the performer…

Sonata No.4 Op.30… In this recording the prologue, in which the leading motives are stated, has a wonderful dream-like stillness and Bekhterev reveals delicate textures with much nuance. Through struggle and activity in the movement proper it is the aspirations of the prologue which are transformed into triumphal radiance in the coda. Bekhterev’s handling of this movement sets him apart from other performers in that he makes time for the lyrical content whilst keeping the whole movement buoyant without haste…

The fifth sonata (Op.53)… It is perhaps in this sonata more than the others on this disc that Bekhterev reveals his great sympathy with the music of Scriabin. Once again he shows his mastery of tension building throughout the whole length of the piece easily attaining that ecstatic and radiant climax to the coda which had become such an important a feature to Scriabin.
However, it is in the development section that one hears some remarkable pianism. Boris Bekhterev responds well to Scriabin’s poetic element whilst at the same time captures the mood of his philosophical thought. His shaping of melodic line is eloquent and refined and he demonstrates his ability to unfold intimate phrases in a controlled and concentrated manner involving the listener in the thought process. Phrasing gains too from an intelligent choice of speed and good intonation as each melodic phrase is allowed time to speak and breathe as a living unit of the whole. The construction of the sonata is apparent through clear pedalling and all harmonic shifts are understood without effort on the listener’s part. There is no room here for that muddy sea of sound met with so often in other performances.

…The eight pieces arranged for flute and piano by Boris Bekhterev which complete the disc are recorded here for the first time under the collective title of “Scriabiniana”. The expertise of the arranger is apparent in the transparency of the textures created and by the bringing together of the two instruments in common aim.
The flautist here is Mario Ancillotti who once partnered the equally famous Severino Gazzelloni as first flute of the RAI Orchestra in Rome. He produces a fluent sound as one would expect.

The recorded sound on this disc has good presence and is consistent. For those who are not yet familiar with Scriabin’s music this disc offers an excellent starting place. It is highly recommended.

Stuart Scott (2013)
Composer, Music Lecturer and Writer
Boris Bekhterev continues his major survey of Scriabin’s piano music with this good quality recording of the complete études from Camerata.

…the works are presented in chronological order, beginning with the ever popular Etude Op.2 No.1 in C sharp minor. Bekhterev’s expressive account immediately involves the listener, revealing one of his great qualities as a performer.

…In the 12 Etudes Op.8 Bekhterev achieves a wide variety of mood and much unity.

…No.12 in D sharp minor... Marked “patetico”, its true character is sometimes forgotten and it is presented merely as a virtuoso display. Not so here where Bekhterev’s controlled reinforcement of sonority enables him to show us the true nature of the piece. Throughout this set, the pianist responds well to the mood of each étude, most notably in the uplifting character of No.5 and the darker undertone of No.11, never losing sight of the overall design of the whole set.

Scriabin’s use of harmony and rhythm becomes more complex in the Op.42 set…

No.5 in C sharp minor is the most famous of this set... A good choice of tempo, careful pedalling and controlled sonority from Bekhterev ensures an excellent performance with no blurring of detail. His delicate touch shows well in No.3 where the melodic line consists entirely of trill figures and again in the semiquaver figures of No.8. Boris Bekhterev can be relied upon to find the melodic lines in any of these pieces, his intonation always allowing them to breathe naturally and communicate more easily.

…3 Etudes Op.65... Bekhterev’s chromatic runs of ninths in the first piece, all the more difficult for being marked “pianissimo”, produce the nervous energy of a flickering flame. The sevenths in the middle piece show much poetic thought, whilst the fifths, an unusual interval for Scriabin, dance and sparkle in the third and final piece. All three of these studies benefit tremendously from Bekhterev’s clear articulation and intelligent use of pedal.

Some excellent performances of selected études have appeared in recordings of the past… However, there is little to be gained in comparing other recordings of the complete études as Scriabin’s music allows for very personal and diverse interpretations. It is more a matter of which interpretation has the ability to involve the listener in the performance and at the same time, reveal the composer’s essence of thought. For me, Boris Bekhterev’s recording does just that. What is more, those qualities do not diminish with repeated listening. Bekhterev has accomplished a unique and coherent view of the complete études.

CD Classica
By Riccardo Risaliti
Boris Bekhterev plays with a refined and highly lyrical naturalness, far removed from the artificial rhetoric of certain illustrious Russian pianists. In him a calm and consoling awareness prevails. A lesson for many young pianists with their coarse and aggressive ways.

The Classic Voice
By Luca Chierici about the CD Tchaikovsky and Skriabin Sonatas
Bekhterev is a great artist who perfectly follows the composer in his triumphal vision with expertise and almost complicity with respect to the heroic world and contributes to making this record unique.

American Record Guide
By John Bell Young
Mr. Bekhterev commands a no-holds-barred, larger-than-life technique capable of tossing off the most hair-raising difficulties with nonchalance. But when wed to a vivid imagination and a poetic sensibility, technique becomes invisible as the music comes to life Here is a thoroughly mature artist, emotionally connected to himself and the music. He has made himself at home in a pianistic tessitura where melismatic filigree spins out effortlessly, where huge blocks of sound blow across the musical terrain with translucence.

By John Bell Young, about the CD Eclatant, Lumineux
Judging from the magnificent, thoroughly informed and deliciously idiomatic performances recorded here, Mr. Bekhterev emerges as one of the greatest Scriabin interpreters of all.

Stuart Scott
Composer, Music Lecturer and Writer About the CD Eclatant, Lumineux
The CD is very well produced and the listener is involved in your own concentration throughout. For me your playing has all the necessary Skryabin requirements ie.clear voices in all parts, excellent use of the pedal and some very thoughtful rubato. You have produced interpretations which convey Skryabin’s unique sound world as I imagine it to be. I am familiar with many interpretations of Skryabin’s music including Sofronitsky, Neuhaus, Richter, Horowitz, Kastelsky and others but rarely have I heard such satisfactory performances of the 2 Poems Op.69, Poème-Nocturne and Vers la flamme. You have done Skryabin a great service and must have gained much admiration for your playing through this recording. I am truly grateful to you for sending me this CD which I now treasure and will listen to many times over in the future.

Gennady M. Tzipin
Russian Music Critic
I was really delighted by listening to your CD of Medtner. Your performance revealed me many different beauties of this music of which, maybe, I was not aware before. You play Medtner, as well as Rachmaninov and Skriabin, in a very Russian way with the right soul warmth, sincerity and virtuoso outburst which are really needed for this music.

Gennady M. Tzipin
Russian Music Critic
As usual it was a great pleasure for me to get to know your new work. I think it is not exaggerated to say that, as far as the interpretation of Russian composers as Skriabin, Rachmaninov and Medtner, there are not many performers, nowadays, that can be regarded as your artistic competitors.

New York Post - USA
By Robert Kimball
The pianist Boris Bekhterev - superbly gifted.

The New York Times - USA
By John Rockwell
The program has been accompanied with precisely complementary pianism of Boris Bekhterev

Sovetskoe Iskusstvo - Russia
By A. Nikolaeva
Boris Bekhterev’s performances reveal something that no longer exists - the elements of music-making. It appears that his natural relationship with music, the unique organic means by which he conveys its message (one feels as if the musician were playing “his own” music) gives his interpretation a special influence which the audience finds particularly appealing. His care and delicacy arise from his relationship with the music.
Clarity and simplicity in Boris Bekhterev’s performances are not intentional simplifications, but the result of his ability to perceive a truth, which generates ethical thoughts.
… A fascination for the truth, this is the definition of the feeling that arises from his interpretation of Mozart, Schumann and, of course, Chopin, the composer with whom the pianist identifies more closely.

Il Resto del Carlino - Italy
By Federico Gerberoglio
His exceptional “verve”, his proven instrumental ability, his temperament literally galvanized the large number of people present in the Church of Pomposa - the same people who, at the end of the concert, stood up to pay their well-deserved respects to this artist who rewarded them with three encores.

La Nuova Ferrara - Italy
By A. Tromboni
The melodious lines and harmonious interlacements which Boris Bekhterev is able to create astonish us for the constant balance with which he can unwind chords which border on dramatic register and medium-high scale without any dynamic lack of balance, without any tone-colour disharmony.
At the end of the concert, Boris Bekhterev gave three encores for the audience, who rose to applaud him with enthusiasm and showered him with calls of “bravo”. We have witnessed enough musical performances to be able to say that such enthusiasm on the part of the public for a solo piano concert is a rare occurrence indeed.

Der Tagsspiegel - Germany
By Walter Kempfer
Amongst the Russian musicians we have heard on Berlin’s stages in recent years, Boris Bekhterev is truly fascinating. His appearance in public, noble, almost aristocratic, is harmonious with his obvious desire to avoid all forms of exhibitionism.
… In the same adagio (Beethoven’s D minor Sonata op. 31 no. 2) he clearly revealed his mastery, attaining a spiritual intensity and expression of fervent lyrical feelings which enchanted the audience.
Two precious mazurkas from op. 63 and a great polonaise in F sharp left one feeling that one had witnessed an authentic interpretation of Chopin’s music.

Allmusic (2007)
By Blair Sanderson
[T]he complexity of Scriabin’s music requires a lucid interpreter, and Boris Bekhterev is one of the most brilliant performers of this oeuvre […]. Camerata’s reproduction is clean and clear, with sufficient resonance and depth to capture the shimmering colors and vibrant warmth of Bekhterev’s exceptional playing.

Allmusic (2007)
By Blair Sanderson
Because Bekhterev has been a Scriabin specialist since the 1970s, he plays the music with the utmost sympathy and passion, and listeners can be sure that these fluent interpretations are rendered in the true spirit of the Russian visionary, without any of the excessive murkiness or turgidity that have sometimes afflicted this music. To the contrary, Bekhterev’s touch is clear and his textures are diaphanous, so even when the harmonies are at their thickest, as in the sinister Sonata No. 6, or the attacks are white hot, as in the phosphorescent clusters of the Sonata No. 10, the music is never muddled or incoherent. Camerata’s audio is also transparent, with just enough sense of the performance space to lend Bekhterev’s playing credible physical presence and a life-like resonance.

Record Geijutsu (January 2011)
By Jiro Hamada
This album is also Scriabin, but it’s unusual to find a compilation of Scriabin’s mazurkas, which are pieces not often heard […]. Bekhterev approaches the mellifluous lyricism of these pieces meekly and without resistance, generally playing them with a keen sense of conveying what they have to say, and filled with warm touches. While listening, I was again reminded of how attractive Scriabin’s mazurkas are, and how much in a class by themselves. This is a superb disk well worth a listen.

Stuart Scott (2010)
Composer, Music Lecturer and Writer
Boris Bekhterev is no stranger to Scriabin’s musical world having already recorded the sonatas and a large number of smaller pieces with great success. Here he presents the ever changing moods of the Op. 3 set with consummate skill and in No. 4 (E maj) the voices in the contrapuntal writing are beautifully delineated.

The Nine Mazurkas Op. 25 show a considerable advance towards his later musical style. In No. 4 (E maj) Bekhterev gets behind the emotional content to reveal inner ideas and makes the most of the notable harmonic elements and delightful modulations of No. 10 (E flat min).

Throughout this recording Boris Bekhterev shows the ability to bring the listener into his performance by creating the necessary tension through his sympathetic response to the numerous mood changes, whilst at the same time he reveals the poetical and emotional content of the pieces quite naturally. His attention to balance and phrasing along with well observed rubato make for polished and poetic performances.
Boris Bekhterev’s natural affinity and understanding of Scriabin shines through on every track of this CD. Highly recommended.

Stuart Scott (2011)
Composer, Music Lecturer and Writer
Boris Bekhterev’s recent recording of Scriabin’s Complete Impromptus and Other Early Pieces brings his extensive survey of the composer’s piano music nearer to completion. Although issued as separate discs rather than a set, when taken as a whole, these recordings showcase a pianist with insight and understanding, marking him out as one of the best Scriabin interpreters of the present time.

Bekhterev seems to select the right tempi for all his performances intuitively, and in the case of the Polonaise Op. 21, his adopted tempo helps bring out the heroic character of the work. Well founded intonation allows the broad theme time to breathe with characteristic dignity.

The Impromptus date from 1889–1895 and the harmonic, rhythmical and mood changes required are thoughtfully handled by the pianist who manages to capture well the intimacy of these short pieces. The ever popular Pieces for Left Hand Op. 9 receive fluent and poetic presentation complemented by Camerata’s well recorded piano sound.