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|1. Three Compositions: Adagio (Nobilissimo)|
|2. Three Compositions: Agitato con passione|
|3. Three Compositions: Allegretto grazioso|
|4. Three Etudes: Affetamente|
|5. Three Etudes: ('Pianissimo') Con dolce maniera|
|6. Three Etudes: Burlando|
|7. Piano Sonata No. 1|
|8. Prelude: Largo|
|9. Two Compositions: Quasi Prelude: Tres modere|
|10. Two Compositions: Quasi Poeme: Lent|
|11. Piano Sonata No. 2|
|12. Two Poems: Allegretto - Fervido|
|13. Two Poems: Moderato - Sempre poco rubato|
|14. Five Preludes: Andante affetuoso|
|15. Five Preludes: Allegretto con moto|
|16. Five Preludes: Lento|
|17. Five Preludes: Lento|
|18. Five Preludes: Lento - Rubato|
|19. Piano Sonata No. 5|
The short pieces on this disc make extensive use of the delicate washes and sweeps of tone that Debussy exploited in his well-known works. The piano is used in a similar pointillistic way to minimize its percussive character by avoiding definite rhythms and cramming odd numbers of notes into legato lines. But Roslavets' tonal sense is nothing like Debussy's. It is alien and forbidding, a sort of suprematist abstract impressionism. Expressionist music here is built with impressionist devices.
No themes are apparent here, even in the Sonatas, where some development and variations can be discerned, though I was never sure about what was being developed. The little tone poems make wonderful background music. They were not at all intrusive as long as I didn't pay attention and try to make sense of things. While at times the music shows hints of structure, it never arrives and its emotional direction and goals are generally unclear.
The Sonata #1 is a very delicate thing, constructed out of fragmentary motifs and nothing like a melody. In some places it builds in intensity, to a high pitch and density, and then leaves it hanging and returns to mid-range noodling. This has echoes of Sorabji's lush chromaticism and exotica without the passion and daring of that composer.
I would buy a disc of Hamelin playing Plastic Bertrand, and I found much to admire in his playing here. This music is in fact very complex, and in an unconventional notation. Hamelin finds his way through all of it, always in control, with the technical resources to span the range of moods. It's not his typical material, but challenging in its own peculiar way. This music has been disparaged as "etiolated Scriabin" and even Hamelin can only give us the pale pastels, and does not try to supply bright colors. This recording is valuable in that it gives us one more clue as to how Hamelin would sound playing Sorabji, something I would dearly love to hear. The recording is clear, if somewhat reverberant, not very different from Hyperion's other studio efforts with this pianist.