One of Germany’s most prominent pianists, Alexander Krichel from Hamburg, has brought together a couple of heavyweights for his first album with Berlin Classics. He combines the “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky, a central work of the piano literature, with a rarely heard gem by the Romanian composer George Enescu. Enescu’s Second Piano Suite enhances the formal language of the Baroque with Romantic and Impressionist timbres, and entrances the listener with a rich palette of tone colours. To round off the pro-gramme, Alexander Krichel plays another work by a composer from Russia’s “mighty hand-ful”, the Nocturne from the Petite Suite by Alexander Borodin.
There’s no denying it: born in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, Krichel feels himself strongly drawn to the Russian repertoire. He studied with two of the greatest Russian pianists of modern times: in Hanover, as Vladimir Krainev’s last student; and at the Royal College of Music in London, with Dmitri Alexeev. “I’ve long had Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ in my repertoire, but now, this piano suite is exactly right with its strong sense of dedication,” says Krichel. “It would be hard to find another piano cycle that has such va-riety and places such comprehensive demands. Mussorgsky captures a whole cosmos in his ‘Pictures’. That links him with George Enescu, who in writing his Second Suite actually composed a tribute as well”
ECHO Klassik prizewinner Alexander Krichel also made his presence felt on the music scene with unusual activities during the long Corona lockdown. In May 2020, he initiated the first drive-in concert, which was broadcast by WDR. Soon after that, his audience was following him on a video diary from a Hong Kong hotel suite, in which he had to observe a 14-day period of quarantine before a concert.
All the greater, then, the relief felt by Alexander Krichel that like other artists, he can again communicate live with his audience, most recently in a concert for Bavarian Radio (BR), where he was able to perform Mussorgsky’s “Pictures”. The listeners were delighted, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung credited Krichel with “an unfailing sense of piano sound. Not all great pianists have that. But the truly great ones, they do.”