Obscure Music Monday: Akimenko's Trois Danses Idylliques

Theodore Akimenko (Feb. 8, 1876 - Jan. 8, 1945) was a Ukranian pianist, professor, and composer.  He is the older brother of the composer Jakob Akimenko. 

Akimenko studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Rimsky-Korsakov, Liadov, and Balakirev, and graduated in 1900. From 1901 to 1903, he was director of the Tbilisi Music School. There are some gaps in our knowledge of him, but we know he was a lecturer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1915, and taught there as a professor from 1919 to 1923, where he was Stravinsky's first composition teacher. Years later he would move to France, where he stayed the rest of his life.

Trois Danses Idylliques is a collection of three short movements for piano, published in Moscow in 1907.  The first movement, Allegro ma non troppo has a driving energy to it, with constant eighth notes in the left hand.  The second movement, Vivace, starts with some bouncing octaves and moves in to a playful 3/4.  The final movement, Allegretto, is a very cheerful and brisk 2/4, with the melody having all sorts of ornamentation and mordents scattered throughout, giving it a fun flare.

Sadly, we can't find any recordings of this wonderful work---we hope that changes soon!

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