Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Rachmaninov: Etudes-tableaux, Op. 33/39


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0136
Release Date: 2014-02-01
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871013629
Liner Notes

Martin Cousin, piano

With the award of a Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Music Competition and First Prize at the 2005 Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Compeition, Scottish pianist Martin Cousin joins the ranks of such illustrious predecessors a Maurizio Pollini, Geoffrey Parsons, Jacqueline Du Pré and John Lill. Recitals, festival appearances and concerto engagements have taken him all over the world.

In this, his third “Russian” disc for SOMM, he continues with Rachmaninov’s complete Études-Tableaux, ideally suited to both his fearless technique and discerning musicianship.

“…a landmark recording”. The Observer see |HERE|

Those who do not know these extraordinarily original masterpieces are strongly advised to acquire this disc. There is none better.” Classical Source see |HERE|

Martin Cousin… a master in the art of the tapered phrase, the dying fall and the precisely weighted texture“. The Times.

Cousin’s performance is not slim-line in any sense. The sonata (Rachmaninov Sonata No. 1) comes across with ample romantic passion, its impulses strong, its textures ripe and robust.  …. If some pianists have preferred to saddle the sonata with its barnstorming reputation, that is not Cousin’s way. His has discretion, judgment and perception.” ( Arts Telegraph, Geoffrey Norris, Classical CD of the Week).

An impressive disc in every way“. Gramophone.


Rachmaninov composed the op. 33 Études-Tableaux in the summer of 1911 just after completing his second set of Preludes Op. 32. They are compositionally more advanced than the Preludes and explore a variety of themes through modal harmonies, and different piano textures and sonorities. Written in 1916-17, the Op. 39 set are melodically more angular and harmonically astringent. They are perceived as a hidden set of variations on the plainchant Dies Irae, parts of the chant being quoted directly in each of the nine studies. They are extremely virtuosic, calling for unconventional hand positions and wide leaps for the fingers, features which place these works outside the scope of any but the most formidable virtuoso technique.

Martin Cousin
Martin Cousin is now regarded as one of the most exceptional pianists of his generation, having been awarded First Prize at the 2005 Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition (Seregno, Italy) and Gold Medal at the 2003 Royal Over-Seas Piano Competition, London. Following his début at the Purcell Room, and several appearances at the Wigmore Hall (2001, 2005, 20011), he has appeared as concerto soloist with major London orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia and BBC Concert Orchestras. Performances further afield have included tours of  Europe, New Zealand, Italy, Canada and the USA.

Martin’s début disc of Rachmaninov’s First Sonata and Morceaux de Salon was enthusiastically received and reviewed.  The US magazine Fanfare wrote: “This is the performance of the First Sonata that I have always heard in my head but never thought I’d actually get to hear with my ears. This guy’s the Real Deal!

On This Recording

  1. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 1 in F Minor: Allegro non troppo
  2. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 2 in C Major: Allegro
  3. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 3 in C Minor: Grave
  4. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 5 in D Minor: Moderato
  5. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 6 in E-Flat Minor: Non allegro
  6. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 7 in E-Flat Major: Allegro con fuoco
  7. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 8 in G Minor: Moderato
  8. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 9 in C-Sharp Minor: Grave
  9. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 1 in C Minor: Allegro agitato
  10. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 2 in A Minor: Lento assai
  11. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 3 in F-Sharp Minor: Allegro molto
  12. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 4 in B Minor: Allegro assai
  13. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 5 in E-Flat Minor: Appassionato
  14. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 6 in A Minor: Allegro
  15. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 7 in C Minor: Lento
  16. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 8 in D Minor: Allegro moderato
  17. 9 Etudes-tableaux: No. 9 in D Major: Allegro moderato