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Myaskovsky: Symphony No 15 & 27 / Svetlanov


Release Date: 10/09/2007 
Label:  Musical Concepts   Catalog #: 1021   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Nikolay Myaskovsky
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Fine recordings of fascinating unique repertoire at bargain price.

"Myaskovsky was a contemporary of Prokofiev and features extensively in Prokofiev's diaries. While Prokofiev was something of a cosmopolitan, Myaskovsky remained within the Soviet Union. Prokofiev wrote in every genre including a varied roster of ballets and opera. Myaskovsky restricted himself to symphonies, concertos, sonatas, quartets, studies and some choral works. The theatre seems to have held no fascination for him.

The Symphony No. 15 is in four ripely shaped and expressed movements. This work too is radiant with the composer's trademark nostalgia and his rip-roaring cavalry charges. You get both in the first movement while in
Read more the second there are reminiscences of the catastrophic nightmare world of the Sixth Symphony including some really eerie music (2:19). The third movement is a fast-moving waltz with the emphasis on Tchaikovskian excitement rather than the voluptuous sway of the dancers. One can see a lineage here traced back to Tchaikovsky 5. The finale has fanfares calling out in the most magnificent blaze of triumph and a shade or two of the first movement of Rachmaninov's The Bells.

The Symphony No. 27 – his last – is better known and there have been several recordings over the years. Svetlanov brings out the autumnal, meditative and melancholic colouration of the first movement with its remarkably Finzian undulations and gravity. Towards the end of the movement another ‘signature’ charge topped off with a stomping dance 'tail' is excitingly done by Svetlanov. He whips his orchestra into a brazen frenzy in the final moments of this rampant fantasy of a movement which finally transforms the charge theme into a raw and dazzling red dawn of a fanfare.

The central adagio demonstrates Myaskovsky's art of placing and shaping woodwind solos with the after-tone of sadness. It is all done with lustrous grace. The finale introduces a quick-charging and rippling assault figure. A clarinet solo links back to the music of the first movement.

In the finale, Presto ma non troppo the mood is developed into brash rodomontade in the bustling and here luxuriously italicised celebratory manner of Tchaikovsky 5 and Glazunov 8.

The sound has a very agreeable sickle sharp edge to it...

Interesting that the imported Alto-Regis adopted layout scheme for this cycle has produced two couplings in each case adding an either previously unrecorded or rarely heard work to a symphony that is much better known. Not that anyone can really claim that any of the Myaskovsky symphones are concert staples. Good though to see that one of his rarest, No. 13 appears in the exemplary concert programme for the Bard Festival in June 2008 in the USA. The conductor is the refreshingly adventurous and gifted Leon Botstein who has also recently conducted Shcherbachov's 1926 Second Symphony Blokovskaya alongside Mosolov’s The Iron Foundry (1928) and Arthur Lourié’s Chant funèbre sur la mort d’un poète (1921) (Avery Fisher Hall, 25 January 2008).

All praise to Alto for picking up the baton where Olympia fell. There are few examples of this sort of artistic dedication within the record industry. That they actually quote the Olympia numbers on the insert and booklet and continue the original Olympia design concept is admirable. The picture is completed when we note that these fine recordings of fascinating and unique repertoire are available at bargain price. The discs [in this series] are irresistible and should be cheered to the rafters."

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 15 in D minor Op. 38 by Nikolay Myaskovsky
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1934; USSR 
2. Symphony no 27 in C minor, Op. 85 by Nikolay Myaskovsky
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1950; USSR 

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