Cover Saudade

Album info



Label: eaSonus

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Instrumental

Artist: Elisabeth Leonskaja

Composer: Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowsky (1840-1893), Dmitri Schostakowitsch (1906-1975), Sergej Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski (1840 - 1893): Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37 "Grand Sonata":
  • 1Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37 "Grand Sonata": I. Moderato e risoluto13:00
  • 2Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37 "Grand Sonata": II. Andante non troppo quasi moderato10:02
  • 3Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37 "Grand Sonata": III. Scherzo – Allegro giocoso03:07
  • 4Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 37 "Grand Sonata": IV. Finale – Allegro vivace07:29
  • Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975): Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 61:
  • 5Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 61: I. Allegretto07:28
  • 6Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 61: II. Largo06:25
  • 7Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 61: III. Moderato13:27
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943): Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3:
  • 8Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3: No. 2. Prelude03:38
  • Preludes, Op. 32:
  • 9Preludes, Op. 32: No. 12. Prelude in G-Sharp Minor. Allegro02:44
  • 10Preludes, Op. 23: No. 6. Prelude in E-Flat Major. Andante02:53
  • Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3:
  • 11Morceaux de fantasie, Op. 3: No. 1. Elegie05:46
  • Total Runtime01:15:59

Info for Saudade

The concept lying behind pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja’s new recording entitled “Saudade” stems from no set of musicological ideas; nor does it have any programmatic basis. Instead, it derives from an emotional state or feeling. Therein lies its argument and the justification for this programme. The composers and their particular works presented here are deservedly important and carry out an especially meaningful role. Yet, it is the feeling which is important here, and it is the unifying theme of what is the most personal (so far) of the Russian pianist’s recording projects.

Why, then, saudade? For the reason that within the heart of this album resides a feeling. Feelings are enigmatic in terms of definition, can be complicated to translate and, on occasion, more than a single method is needed in order to express them. Portuguese in origin, the word saudade, is difficult to pin down exactly and is nigh on impossible to render into another language. Consequently, other languages (such as Spanish and Galician) tend to use it in its original form. Saudade expresses a fundamental emotional state, close to melancholy, spurred on by one’s distance – in time or space – from someone or something loved; it involves bridging that distance. Often it implies the suppressed awareness that that person or thing will perhaps never return.

Saudade is not merely loneliness; nor is it just yearning; nor does it reflect a sense of either sadness or joy; it is much more than melancholy. It resembles the Welsh hiraeth, the Romanian dor (this was referred to in the context of Elisabeth Leonskaja’s earlier album “Paris” in connection with George Enescu’s Piano Sonata No. 1), and the German Sehnsucht, but the main difference between saudade and other states close to nostalgia lies in how it is perceived by the people who feel it. The sentiment expressed by Leonskaja is a particular one, her own, personal, private, special and non-transferable sentiment. It is a sentiment focused on the very origins of existence and one which finishes with its openness to transcendence. It is what has been experienced and understood; it is a loved one no longer visible but who yet keeps on existing; it is embraces…; perfumes scented which the sense of smell revives only in the mind; melodies, whose intervals, having been detected and comprehended, become part of one’s musical bloodstream; landscapes sketched out at an early age; all the many lives which have been lived; joy and sadness simultaneously; everything that will return no more; all this is saudade.

Elisabeth Leonskaja, piano

Elisabeth Leonskaja
has long been among the most celebrated pianists of our times. In a world dominated by commercial media, she has remained true to herself and to music, in the tradition of great Russian musicians such as David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels. Like them, she has always stood for the quintessence of music even under the most difficult political conditions. And like them, she has never been interested in showy appearances. On stage, however, she overwhelms the audience with the power of the music; this has been the substance and the goal of her life.

Born into a Russian family in Tbilisi, Elisabeth Leonskaja gave her first concerts at the age of eleven. While still a student at the Moscow Conservatory, she won prizes at major international piano competitions, including the Enescu Prize, the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition and the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Prize. Her musical development was decisively influenced by her collaboration with Sviatoslav Richter who recognized her exceptional talent and encouraged her by inviting her to play duo concerts with him. This musical and personal friendship continued until Richter’s death in 1997.

Leonskaja left the Soviet Union in 1978 and made Vienna her home. Since then, she has performed as soloist with the world’s finest orchestras and has worked with many renowned conductors. She is a regular guest at numerous international festivals, such as the Wiener Festwochen, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Schuertiade Schwarzenberg, the Spring Festival Tokyo and the December Nights in Moscow. Her name is also to be found among international recitalists in the most prominent piano series of major musical centers oft he world from Paris to Vienna to Melbourne.

In addition to her many solo engagements, chamber music remains an important part of her work. She has performed many times with string quartets, such as the Belcea, Borodin Artemis and Jerusalem quartets. She also had a longstanding musical friendship with the Alban Berg Quartet, and their piano quintet recordings are legendary.

Numerous LPs and CDs bear witness to the pianist’s high artistic level, and her recordings have repeatedly been awarded prizes. The most recent appeared on eaSonus ( “Paris”, with works by Ravel, Enescu and Debussy, was named the Solo Recording of the Year 2014 by the ICMA Jury. “Saudade”, an homage to Russian culture with works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, was released in November 2017. A complete recording of Franz Schubert’s piano sonatas in two volumes of four CDs each has been available since April 2016 and May 2019 respectively. A double-CD with variations and sonatas by Robert Schumann followed in January 2020.

In her second homeland, Austria, Elisabeth Leonskaja is an honorary member of the Vienna Konzerthaus. In 2006 she was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, for her outstanding service to the culture of the country. It is the highest award in Austria. In Georgia, she was named Priestess of Art in 2016, this country’s highest artistic honor. In 2020 she received the International Classical Music (ICMA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Booklet for Saudade

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