MIRA RAIZ (b 1925)
Ukranian-born Soviet pianist

Mira Raiz was born in Kiev.  I have been able to find out almost nothing about her other than that she began her study of the pano at age six, that she studied at the conservatory in her native Kiev with a Prof. Eugenio Slivak, about whom I have discovered even less, and that at some point her path crossed with those of Heinrich Neuhaus and Maria Grinberg who were in some unspecified way instrumental in the evolution of her career.

A very successful pianist, Mira Raiz performed both as a solo artist and a chamber musician throughout the Soviet Union, and in 1989 settled in Frankfurt where she performed with violinist Henrica Tronek as the Duo Bacewicz and with addition of cellist Chistof Herfurth as the Frankfurter Klaviertrio to considerable critical acclaim.  Included are fine recordings of the Grieg G major and Prokofiev F minor violin sonatas, the Haydn G major trio, and the first Rachmaninoff trio, a student work very reminiscent of the Tchaikovsky trio and perhaps written before Rachmaninoff became Rachmaninoff. 

While I am cognizant of the fact that this page is about Mira Raiz, I can't help commenting further on this trio.  It has often been suggested that this work was written in homage to Tchaikovsky, but frankly I wonder.  In it Rachmaninoff has chosen the singular weakness in Tchaikovsky's otherwise magnificent compositional talent, a tendency to be morbidly repetitive, on which to base his own trio.  Given the marked beauty and originality of Rachmaninoff's own work of the period immediately following the composition of the trio - I speak of the amazing first piano concerto and the marvelous Opus 3 piano pieces - I might be tempted to think it grounds for a duel.

There are a number of other delicious short pieces for piano and violin in which Mira Raiz and Henrica Tronek perform admirably.  These are pieces that one is unlikely to encounter in concerts or recitals and which are deserving of a hearing played really beautifully, at least once.  And I urge you to listen to Mira Raiz and Henrica Tronek perform the violin sonata by Grażyna Bacewicz, the duo's namesake, and a woman composer of the first rank little known or appreciated in America.

Haydn  Piano Trio in G major, Hob XV:25 "Gypsy"
i Andante
06:03ii Poco adagio
11:49iii Finale: Presto (Rondo all'Ongarese)
with Henrica Tronek, violin and Chistof Herfurth, cello

Mozart  Piano Sonata 4 in E major, K 282

i Adagio

ii Menuetto I-II

iii Allegro

Mendelssohn  Songs Without Words

9 "Consolation" (Adagio non troppo in E major), Op 30~3
02:2447 "The Joyous Peasant" (Allegro vivace in A major), Op 102~5
03:4646 "The Sighing Wind" (Un poco agitato, ma andante in G minor), Op 102~4
06:0422 "Sadness of Soul" (Adagio in F minor), Op 53~4
08:466 "Venetian Boat Song 1" (Andante sostenuto in G minor), Op 19~6
11:1025 "May Breezes' (Andante espressivo in G major), Op 62~1
13:4942 "Song of the Traveler" (Allegretto con moto in B major), Op 85~6
16:1727 "Funeral March" (Andante maestoso in E minor), Op 62~3
19:2219 "On the Seashore" (Andante con moto in A major), Op 53~1
22:5428 "Morning Song" (Allegro con anima in G major), Op 62~4
24:2032 "Lost Illusions" (Allegro leggiero in F minor), Op 67~2
26:4336 "Lullaby" (Allegretto non troppo in E major), Op 67~6
29:3426 "The Departure" (Allegro con fuoco in B major), Op 62~2

Brahms  Intermezzo: Grazioso in A minor, from Op 76~3

Brahms  Allegro passionato in G minor, from Op 116~7

Wieniawski  "Obertasse et Le Menetrier" Op 19~1
with Henrica Tronek, violin

Tchaikovsky  from The Seasons


October and December

Tchaikovsky  "Souvenir d'un lieu cher" Op 42
Meditation - Melodie - Scherzo
with Henrica Tronek, violin

Recorded live in 2009

Dvořák  Slavonic Dance in E minor, Op 72~10
with Henrica Tronek, violin

Grieg  Violin Sonata 2 in G major, Op 13
i Lento doloroso. Allegro vivace
09:01 ➢ ii Allegretto tranquillo
15:52 ➢ iii Allegro animato
with Henrica Tronek, violin and Chistof Herfurth, cello

Rimsky-Korsakov  "Arabic Song"
with Henrica Tronek, violin

Lyadov  "Musical Snuff Box"

Debussy  "Claire de Lune"

Scriabin  Preludes, Op 11

5 Andante cantabile in D major
01:36 ➢ 9 Andantino in E major
03:0613 Lento in G major

Scriabin  Étude in F major, Op 42~4

Rachmaninoff  "Gypsy Dance" from the opera Aleko
with Henrica Tronek, violin

recorded live in 2009

Rachmaninoff  "Oreintal Romance" Op 4
with Henrica Tronek, violin

recorded live in 2009

Rachmaninoff  "Margarithen" Op 38~3
with Henrica Tronek, violin

recorded live in 2009

Rachmaninoff  Trio élégiaque 1 in G minor
with Henrica Tronek, violin and Chistof Herfurth, cello

Szymanowski  Romanze
with Henrica Tronek, violin

recorded live in 2009

Prokofiev  Violin Sonata 1 in F minor, Op 80
i Andante assai
ii Allegro brusco
iii Andante
iv Allegrissimo. Andante assai. come prima
with Henrica Tronek, violin

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969)  Violin Sonata 5
with Henrica Tronek, violin

i Moderato

ii Nocturne
iii Finale

Bacewicz  Oberek
with Henrica Tronek, violin

Rodion Shchedrin (b 1932)  "Imitating Albéniz"
with Henrica Tronek, violin

For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.

And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse

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