Review -- Novellette, Op. 18 (1903)
The Novellette, Op. 18, despite its odd amalgam of influences, is an effective and exhilarating piece that is sure to please any audience that is not too self conscious to enjoy a good romp in C major. The title, of course, pays homage to Schumann (especially the Novellette Op. 21 No. 2 in D major), and there need be no reason to complain if, at first, the piece is difficult to distinguish from a work of Schumann's. The Novellette is in ABA form. The first surprise comes on the second page, when we brusquely jump the Schumann track and take a Balakirevian side trip. Before the first A section is complete, we find ourselves back on the Schumannesque line, but the B section is pure Liapunov, with one of his finer melodies, beautifully formed and scored. The second A section is as expected, except for a major-key reiteration of the B-section theme, before a rousing coda. Though perhaps not altogether Liapunov's most characteristic piece, I highly recommend it as a sheer pleasure to hear and a worthwhile challenge to perform.