Ilona Timchenko

You can only marvel at such sheer quality ... this is among the most commanding and musically fascinating of all new and recent piano issues

  • Gramophone

    Bryce Morrison

  • 1 March 2009

"Ilona Timchenko is a young Russian pianist and winner of the Abstract Securities Landor Competition. But make no mistake; there is nother abstract about performances characterised by immense musical and technical resource. Cradling Clara Schumann's three Preludes and Fuges between two outsize challenges, she links three composers closely entwined both personally and professionally.

More importantly, her warmth in Clara's Mendelssohnian B flat Prelude and Fugue, where a much-neglected composer doffs her hat to academe, is complemented by an astonishing sense of Robert's ominously schizophrenic fantasy in his Kreisleriana. Clara herself feared for her husband with his sudden dive into the darkest regions of Romantic poetry (Intermezzo 2 from section 2) and it is here that Timchenko, with her superb sense of the outgoing and interior sides of Schumann's teeming imagination, reveals herself in total accord with such richness and complexity. Her stealthy view of the final gnomic march, alive with eerie voicing and cross-accentuation, has rarely been equalled; again it is her formidable command and poetic commitment that make such a musical rather than merely athletic experience of Brahms's Paganini Variations. Romantically free, even in the theme, she takes nothing on face value. Try Vars 11 and 14 (Book 2) for instances of her all-Russian mastery, or Var 3 from the same book for a dancing lightness and vivacity and you can only marvel at such sheer quality.

Potton Hall's sound is rich and full, if a trifle bass-heavy, but this is among the most commanding and musically fascinating of all new and recent piano issues."


R.Schumann, ''Kreisleriana'' (1/3)