Notes and Editorial Reviews
Alexander Ivashkin (vc);
Anya Alexyev (pn);
Konstantin Krimets, cond;
Russian P O of Moscow
TOCCATA CLASSICS 0128 (75:52)
Nikolai Sergeevich Korndorf (1947-2001) taught composition and orchestration at the Moscow Conservatory from 1972 until 1991, when he emigrated to Canada. Early in his career he wrote in the traditional Russian academic style, but he later turned to Minimalism and in Canada he began to experiment with electro-acoustic media. He tells us that his music relates to philosophical, religious, or moral topics, and that it was never designed to be entertainment. He goes on to say: “As much as possible, I strive to ensure that every one of my works contains a message to each listener and that my music leaves no one indifferent, but aroused with an emotional response. I even accept that at times my music arouses negative emotions, as long as it is not indifference.” After one year in Canada, he said that every morning he woke up thanking God for bringing him to that blessed country. Although he was only there 10 years, he was happy that he made the move and his music reflected the freedom he felt when he was able to adopt any musical style he liked.
The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra of Moscow, conducted by Konstantin Krimets, with cellist Alexander Ivashkin as soloist, give us an exquisite rendition of Korndorf’s
for Cello, Strings, and Percussion. On this disc we have the chance to compare the styles of the
which he wrote in 1986, with the
for Solo Cello and the Triptych for Cello and Piano, which he wrote between 1997 and 1999.
opens with percussion sounds on treble pitches playing over sustained orchestral harmonies. When the cello enters, it is with a rather romantic sounding theme. Korndorf manages to relate 19th-century music with Asian and Rock sounds. His solo cello plays glissandos and the orchestra builds close harmonies below it. Its first movement culminates in a magnificent passage where the music seems to wash over the listener like a gentle wave in a warm bay. Then, having spent its power, it ends as softly and sweetly as it began. In the second movement, the cello plays melodic fragments with the rhythmic lilt of a folk dance. The sound builds to an overpowering high point with rhythms that no one could resist. It reminds me of the Hans Christian Andersen story about a girl who, after putting on the red shoes, cannot stop dancing. The music whirls faster and faster, but eventually it does calm down to end as smoothly as it began. This concerto is rather unusual and I find it quite unforgettable. Of the two pieces that follow it, one is for cello with piano and the other is for cello alone. Somehow, I don’t find them nearly as enthralling as the concerto. In the first part of the
“Lament,” the cello pleads in plaintive tones while the piano plays accompanying chords. In the second movement, “Response,” the cello still has the main motif, but this time the piano answers it. Both play together in the more equally balanced “Glorification.” The
is a romp for solo cello that unifies all the myriad styles that Korndorf liked to include. Only time will tell if these works are as educational as he would like his works to be. The sound is good on this disc and I would suggest buying it for the concerto.
FANFARE: Maria Nockin
Works on This Recording
Triptych, for cello & piano by Nikolai Korndorf
Alexander Ivashkin (Cello),
Anya Alexeyev (Piano)
Date of Recording: 12/01/2006
Venue: Live Lazaridis Theatre, Perimeter Institute,
Length: 23 Minutes 30 Secs.
Passacaglia for cello solo by Nikolai Korndorf
Alexander Ivashkin (Cello)
Venue: Moscow Radio House
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs.
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