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Pavlova: Symphony No 5, Elegy For Piano And String Orchestra

Release Date: 04/24/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570369   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alla Pavlova
Performer:  Mikhail ShestakovAndrei Korobeinikov
Conductor:  Vladimir Ziva
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PAVLOVA Symphony No 5. Elegy for Piano and Strings Vladimir Ziva, cond; Andrei Korobeinikov (pn); Moscow Tchaikovsky RS0 NAXOS 8.570369 (52:04)

Alla Pavlova is a Russian-trained composer and musicologist who has lived in New York since 1990. Recordings of her previous four symphonies, as well as the suite from her ballet, Sulamith have been released by Naxos, some reviewed in these pages (see, for instance, Read more style="font-style:italic">Fanfare 29:6, pp. 174–175). This disc combines her most recent symphony with a shorter work, originally conceived as film music.

In the notes accompanying the CD, Pavlova describes her symphony, written in 2005–06, as having a “spiritual program.” The first movement expresses her personal feelings about life; the second is a meditation on a white lotus flower; the third suggests a startled return to the mundane; the fourth is a prayer; and the fifth is a realization that life is a path toward God. The crux of the musical argument in this 47-minute work is largely delegated to the strings. With the exception of occasional solos, the winds play a largely supportive and ornamental role. Horns are the only brass instruments employed and the percussion writing is discreet. The second and third movements feature extended violin solos of great sensual beauty, superbly performed here by Mikhail Shestakov.

Pavlova’s musical language is firmly grounded in tonality with, not surprisingly, certain unmistakable Russian characteristics, especially in terms of melodic inflection. Her sensitive and beautiful orchestration evokes a sense of vastness reminiscent of Sibelius or late Mahler. Nevertheless, Pavlova speaks with an original voice. She draws in the listener with the gentlest of means—no demands, nothing flashy or jarring. Her harmonic syntax would be perfectly suitable within a symphony written at the turn of the 20th century, or even earlier. Her rhythmical procedures are the subtlest imaginable, yet there’s always a strong sense of forward momentum. From the first hearing this music unfolds perfectly comprehensibly, if never predictably. But despite its disarming accessibility, this music strikes me as far from simplistic. The symphony’s dream-like textures, achieved with the utmost economy of means, traverse a vast terrain of emotional states. Pavlova’s compelling discourse, direct and unaffected, ends up being quite moving, even if it’s difficult to explain exactly why.

Rounding out the disc is Pavlova’s Elegy for piano and orchestra, which originated as title music for a 1998 film, The American Healys . Andrei Korobeinikov is the capable pianist in this most unobtrusive of obbligato parts.

The recording was made in June 2006 in a studio of the Russian State TV & Radio Company and seems to capture all the sonorous delicacy of Pavlova’s music perfectly. The excellent Vladimir Ziva conducts the Tchaikovsky SO of Moscow Radio with great sympathy and conviction. An excellent recording of unconventional and curiously fascinating music. Recommended.

FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 by Alla Pavlova
Performer:  Mikhail Shestakov (Violin)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ziva
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2006 
Venue:  Studio 5, Russian State Radio & TV, Mosc 
Length: 47 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Studio 5, Russian State Radio & TV, Moscow, Russia (06/18/2006 - 06/21/2006) 
Elegy for Piano and Strings by Alla Pavlova
Performer:  Andrei Korobeinikov (Piano)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ziva
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
Venue:  Studio 5, Russian State Radio & TV, Mosc 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Notes: Studio 5, Russian State Radio & TV, Moscow, Russia (06/18/2006 - 06/21/2006) 

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