Irina Morozova, a name that drew my attention amidst a flood of star-studded “Irina’s” in the teaching and performing realm, came through with shining colors in her nuanced readings of George Gershwin Improvisations. The CD title, “Gershwin Virtuoso Transcriptions” encompasses “improvisations” originally delivered by the composer himself on piano rolls, later transcribed by Artis Wodehouse, (7 of 8 attributable to her), with a set of virtuoso Etudes arranged by Earl Wild.
Yeol Eum Son, delivered a riveting performance of an embellished “Embraceable You,” heard far and wide on the Internet, but not played as well as Morozova who reveals a broader palette of color and tasteful rubato perfectly crafted to the jazz era.
Morozova’s peak performances of “Man I Love,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” to name a few, are engaging because of their rhythmic vitality and melodic intensity. Add in technical mastery that’s jaw-dropping and you have a sizzling CD that demands instant replays.
The icing on the cake for me was the artist’s show-stopping reading of the composer’s Concerto in F transcribed by Grace Castegnetto that left me breathless and panting for more!
On the CD menu were some of the following tantalizing treats:
From the Solo Improvisations
“Someone to Watch Over Me,”
Earl Wild Seven Virtuoso Etudes on Gershwin Songs
A few snatches besides those songs already noted:
“Oh Lady Be Good”
“Somebody Loves Me”
The back story:
Irina Morozova, a Mannes College of Music faculty member, first captured my interest when a friend shot off an e-mail that mentioned still another Irina in framed superlatives. To that point I’d been blogged out, waxing rhapsodic about Irina Gorin, piano pedagogue supérieure, and Irena Orlov, (with an E separating her from the pack) an icon among master teachers. Could I make a space for still another IRINA of star caliber?
Just then, Morozova popped up on my screen in a heavenly Romantic ambiance, out-playing herself on You Tube with a set of mesmerizing Chopin selections. Such listening enticements begged for more, adding to my list of Favorites.
This particular Chopin Impromptu performance stole my heart with its divine molto cantabile (singing tone) from first measure to final cadence!
“Irina Morozova made her New York debut with a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in 1996 after winning Artists International Auditions. Critics raved, “Morozova possesses an astonishing beauty of sound and power of ideas…she is the sort of pianist who can turn a simple phrase into magic….”
“Born to a musical family, Irina Morozova began her musical studies at the Leningrad Special Music School for Gifted Children and graduated with honors from the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music where her major teacher was Galina Orlovskaya. Studying with Vladimir Shakin at the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory, she performed in the concert halls of Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and many other cities in the former Soviet Union. She also toured former East Germany and appeared with the Berlin Radio Symphony in the famed Schauspielhaus.
(A list of performance credits is too long to tabulate, though they encompass a variety of international venues.)
“Ms. Morozova received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Dr. Arkady Aronov. Since 1997 she has been on the faculties of Mannes College of Music and the Special Music School at Kaufman Center.”