Notes and Editorial Reviews
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 and
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.
-- David Gutman, Gramophone
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 24 in F minor, Op. 63 by Nikolay Myaskovsky
Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1943; USSR
Length: 38 Minutes 56 Secs.
Notes: Audio Producer: Jackie Campbell.
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