Acclaimed by The Washington Post for her "...clearly prodigious musical gifts," Daria Rabotkina's debut CD reflects her heritage. Her all-Russian program features Tchaikovsky's seldom heard Grand Sonata and ten pieces from Prokofiev's masterful ballet Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Rabotkina is a winner of the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Her burgeoning career has led to solo appearances with the San Francisco and New World Symphonies under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas and with the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev in a four concert North American tour. US recital highlights include Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theatre in Washington, DC, and recent international recitals feature Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory and major venues in Denmark, Switzerland and Japan. The Grand Sonata, Op. 37, along with the Violin Concerto, marked the beginning of a new compositional period for Tchaikovsky, where elements of nostalgia and destiny became central compositional elements. While in Switzerland, Tchaikovsky wrote, 'Mountains are very fine, but it's very difficult for a Russian to tolerate their overwhelming grandeur for long. I am dying for a plain, for a boundless, distant prospect, for an expanse of open country, and for wide horizons." This vastness of scope translated into his music. Here in the Grand Sonata, dynamics range from pppp-fff, and Tchaikovsky uses repetition of chords at the close of each movement to provide a strong sense of insistence. He writes symphonically, magnifies form, and takes the piano and the music to it's limits. It is a brilliantly colored symphonic work, scaled for the piano, but scaled large. Originally commissioned to write Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 by the Leningrad Opera House (later renamed the Kirov) in 1935, though ultimately commissioned by the Bolshoi in Moscow, Prokofiev's stunning setting of Shakespeare's classic tale was his first major work upon his return to the Soviet Union. Despite the promise of more performances, Prokofiev was struggling to remain in the good graces of the worst of the Stalinist regime; the purges were raging beneath the surface at the time of his return. His compatriot Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk had been performed eighty-three times, yet following a performance which Stalin attended and walked out after the first act, calling the music "degenerate," a politically condemning review of Lady Macbeth was issued, together with Stalin's decree that music should be, among other things, "realistic (not too dissonant)," and eulogize the State. This was a severe threat not only to Shostakovich, but to all Soviet artists, especially Prokofiev and his non-Russian wife. Here in Romeo and Juliet, Prokofiev was able to write colorful and tonally transparent music, and most importantly to set it to a timeless and politically safe story. The music is less dissonant and rather more lyrical than most of his earlier works, but still carries with it the rhythmic crispness and harmonic angularity that is distinctly his own. In 1937 Prokofiev selected ten pieces to transcribe for solo piano (to become his Op.75), and premiered the setting himself later that year. Notably, this transcription only takes us partway through the journey of the epic, coming to a heartbreaking close at the point of the two lovers' final hopeful parting departure from each other in life. While the listener knows the fate of the couple, this music hangs painfully at a point of infinite hope and sadness.