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...
Composition of the Sixteenth Symphony began shortly after the crash of the giant eight engine soviet passenger aeroplane Tupolev Maxim Gorky. For a while it even carried the title Aviation Symphony. The firstRead more movement is full of intrepidly heroic and exciting music. The Andante has some typically melancholic-lissom work for woodwind - all highly romantic. The third movement has the reverent pace of a funeral march with the emphasis on the sound of the wind section. The finale makes use of the composer's own popular song The aeroplanes are flying in the sky. A deliberately wheezy clarinet introduces a sort of fugal section where the theme is thrown gently around the orchestra - a lovely oboe solo at 3:02. The movement ends not in a glorious blaze but a honeyed sigh carried by the strings and by a horn solo.
The Nineteenth Symphony has been recorded several times before; most recently with Rozhdestvensky and the Stockholm Concert Band (Chandos). Before that it was recorded by its initial dedicatee the USSR State Wind Oorchestra/Ivan Petrov on Monitor MC 2038 (LP) and then by the USSR Ministry of Defence Orchestra/Mikailov Melodiya C10 20129 (LP). The Mikhailov version also appeared on Olympia (OCD105) in the 1980s and another version on Russian Disc with the Russian State Brass Orchestra conducted by Nikolai Sergeyev (RD CD 11 007) in the mid-1990s.
The music of the first movement of No. 19 moves between a Prokofiev-style brusque quick-march and a sound very reminiscent of Vaughan Williams' Sea Songs and the Moorside Suite by Holst. Then comes a rather gallic Moderato like a fast tempo Pavane pour un infante défunte again meeting Vaughan Williams in folksong mode. The Andante Serioso has moving solos for trumpet, tuba and horns. It is most touchingly done by Svetlanov. The crashing finale finds time for a leisurely cantabile as at 1:19. In case you were wondering there is none of the bombast you might have been expecting from a soviet military band piece. Playful, gleeful, romantic and even a shade heroic but as for empty gestures not a one.
The notes are by the knowledgeable Per Skans and are translated by Andrew Barnett – no relation...
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."
Worthwhile Soviet Era MusicAugust 8, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"The name of Russian composer Nikolai Myaskovsky may not evoke instant recognition, but the fact remains that he was a prolific composer, with 27 completed symphonies, for example. A number of years ago, the recording label Olympia (which I suspect is now defunct) managed to record some of Myaskovsky's symphonies, and now Musical Concepts has continued that project, apparently using some older Olympia recordings which were never released. In this particular recording, we hear symphonies # 16 and 19. Written in the 1930's, there is more than a hint of Soviet 'Socialist Realism' in these two works, since the time frame coincides with the height of Stalinist era cultural standards imposed on Russian artists. Nevertheless, both are interesting and well-constructed symphonies. Of interest, Symphony # 16 has been called the 'Aviation Symphony', and the CD notes explain the connection to a national aviation disaster that occurred in the Soviet Union. I found it to be an eminently accessible work, easy on the ear and quite melodious. recorded digitally by Olympia in the early 1990's, it is given a fine performance by the Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra, also known as the Russian State Symphony Orchestra. Symphony # 19, the other work, is a 1970's analog recording and is presented in Myaskovsky's original format for wind band, sort of a Soviet style Sousa, I suppose. While neither work quite measures up to the standards of the very top tier Russian composers which immediately come to mind, nevertheless this recording offers a good example of quality 20th century Russian music from the Soviet era. The technical quality of Musical Concepts' engineering is quite high, as one does not have to contend with the noticeable harshness of many older Soviet recordings which appeared in the West in the 1950's, 1960', and 1970's."Report Abuse