A Myaskovsky pairing that moves from the exotic to the tragic.
Both these recordings are contained in the rival boxed intégrale – and now Gramophone Award-winner – of
16 CDs from Warner France : if it’s tricky to find, No 23 is the unnumbered Symphony-Suite on the tenth CD. This Alto disc comes with superior annotations and usefully completes the symphonic component of the series for anyone who began collecting the individual releases on the defunct Olympia label. No 23, a reflective exotic pageant in the style of Borodin, was composed in just 10 days during Myaskovsky’s evacuation in 1941 to the relative stability of the Caucasus andRead more points east. Some of the material will be familiar from a less anodyne deployment in Prokofiev’s own Second String Quartet – the two men were evacuated together, with Prokofiev’s young companion Mira Mendelson in tow. There is scant trace of Stalinist tub-thumping even in the finale. Jeffrey Davis’s booklet-note usefully identifies the individual folk melodies.
The Second World War seems to intrude more directly in No 24 (1943). That said, its high seriousness may reflect specific losses, not only the death of musicologist Vladimir Derzhanovsky, the symphony’s dedicatee, but the recent passing of Rachmaninov. The serviceable alternative from Dmitry Yablonsky (Naxos, 10/03) is predictably out-pointed by Svetlanov who makes better sense of the four-square formulae from which the first movement is built. The fundamental interpretative chasm comes with Myaskovsky’s central panel, a moving threnody marked Molto sostenuto. (Curiously, Shostakovich’s Symphony No 12 kicks off with a similar motif though Myaskovsky’s discourse could scarcely be more different.) Svetlanov is plainly in love with this music, imposing ultra-spacious tempi, swooning strings and his usual blaring brass.
Symphony no 24 in F minor, Op. 63by Nikolay Myaskovsky Conductor:
Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1943; USSR Length: 38 Minutes 56 Secs. Notes: Audio Producer: Jackie Campbell.
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Late Russsian Romantic WorksAugust 5, 2016By owen ryan (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"When Moscow was under threat by the invading Germans in 1941, Myaskovsky was among the elite artists evacuated by train. After a 3 day trip he arrived in the northern Caucasus (several more moves were to come later). While in this rural setting he collected folk material which is woven throughout his 23rd symphony. The 23rd, composed in 10 days, is a rather melancholic work for the first two movements but ends in a mood of festive celebration. The 24th written in memory of a friend is a more upbeat and dramatic work. The first and third movements begin with brass fanfare. The slow second movement's tragic theme is presented in varying orchestrations and dynamics. Eventhough these are solid first-rate compositions, beautifully performed and recorded, they do not make any great impression on me-- no doubt due to my lack of perspicacity. Maybe with further listening I'll come to a greater appreciation. You may find them more engaging."Report Abuse
Beautiful SymphoniesJune 28, 2016By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"Musical Concepts (Alto) has undertaken the worthwhile project of resurrecting the recordings of Russian composer Nikolai Myaskovsky, originally done by the now-extinct Olympia label. This CD contains 2 of Myaskovsky's late symphonies, #23 and #24. Both were written in the midst of WW2, a large part of which Myaskovsky spent in the Caucasus and the Soviet Union's Central Asian Republics after being evacuated from Moscow in the face of the Nazi invasion of the USSR. Symphony # 23 was a pleasant surprise to me, as I had expected something of a cataclysmic wartime epic. After an elegant slow exposition, the work picks up tempo and explores an upbeat, optimistic sound world, at least of some of which is derived from local folk music in the regions where he was 'exiled'. All in all, this is not something I would have expected from a Soviet composer writing in the midst of his nation's great existential threat. Symphony #24 was dedicated to the memory of his friend and colleague Vladimir Derzhanovsky, a prominent Moscow music publisher. It is a remarkable work, elegiac, dramatic, and emotional, with an intensity perhaps driven by Myaskovsky's remoteness from Moscow (he composed it in the Soviet Central Asian Republic Kirghizstan). The great Russian conductor Evgeny Svetlanov thoroughly understood this music, and it clearly shows in his deft direction of the Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra. The sound quality of this disk is quite good, although at time the heavy brass passages sound a bit harsh. In summary, these are two 20th century works drenched with real Russian character, and they should prove to be a fine listening experience to anyone interested in broadening their exposure to quality Russian classical music. Recommended."Report Abuse