Notes and Editorial Reviews
Violist Mela Tenenbaum rescued these two stunning works, which were composed for her, from the wreckage of post-Soviet Ukraine, and music lovers certainly owe her a debt of gratitude. Dmitri Klebanov was an exact contemporary of Shostakovich and was similarly the victim of Stalinist purges, leading him to spend much of his career living in obscurity in his home country. His Viola Concerto, written for small string orchestra, certainly recalls Shostakovich, but with a bit more emphasis on formal construction and considerably less emotional bitterness. There's a melancholy sweetness about much of this music that's quite special to Klebanov, and he obtains an amazingly varied, colorful, and rich sound
from his ensemble of a bit more than a dozen players. Tenenbaum owns the work, of course, and plays it with extraordinary passion and commitment, while Richard Kapp's accompaniment fits like a hand in a glove.
Japanese Silhouettes, Klebanov's last major work, is finer still. It's a totally unique combination of song cycle and viola d'amore concerto set for a characterful ensemble of a few strings, winds, harp, celesta, and percussion. The music truly "shimmers". Each of its brief movements begins with a setting of a haiku (excellently sung by Natalia Biorro, who took the part at the work's premiere and agreed to appear especially for this recording), and then continues with a purely instrumental "commentary" for soloist and ensemble. Much of the music has a pentatonic harmonic coloring, though the very opening sounds extremely Russian (the coronation scene from Boris Godunov comes immediately to mind). Truly there's nothing else quite like it, and if you enjoy, say, Ravel's Scheherazade or Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, then your going to love this, particularly as the performance sounds about as close to perfect as we have any reason to expect. Gorgeous recording quality rounds off a wonderful, rewarding experience. Don't miss it!
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Japanese Silhouettes by Dmitri Klebanov
Mela Tenenbaum (Viola d'amore),
Natalia Biorro (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century
Concerto for Viola by Dmitri Klebanov
Mela Tenenbaum (Viola)
Period: 20th Century
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