STAS NAMIN (b.1951): Centuria S-Quark Symphony.
Catalogue Number: 02U053
Label: Navona Records
Reference: NV 6200
Description: To cut to the chase: this is a big, bold, full-blooded symphony full of drama and emotion, and technicolor orchestration - the sort of thing at which we're used to twentieth-century Soviet and Russian Federation composers being especially adept. Unless Namin's biography is substantially fictional, and there seems to be documentation and photographic evidence to suggest that it isn't, he is a complete Renaissance man, with overlapping careers as rock musician, composer, film-maker, photographer, entrepreneurial promoter, and producer and more. He has hob-nobbed with Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Sviridov, Schnittke ... Stephen Hawking, Robert de Niro, Yoko Ono, Allen Ginsberg ... you get the idea. The composer provides a portentous (a cynic might suggest a near homophone) essay, explaining the concept behind the symphony; a kind of futuristic prophecy of the conflict between human individuality and the survival instinct of the species, and the catalytic effect of technology on both. So the 47-minute work, in a single span, consists of multiple expositions of themes which represent aspects of the human experience. This material, and its development, is very tonal, and not infrequently sounds like an amalgam of the Soviet-era composers referenced above, and similar figures like Prokofiev, Tishchenko and so on. As the work progresses, the central, slower section has material more reminiscent of the overt sentiment of film music. Ostinato figuration becomes more prevalent as the 'finale' develops, leading to a series of impressive climaxes. Finally, the whole thing flies apart, in three minutes of cacophonous superimposition of multiple themes from earlier; then after a pause, a kind of hesitant rebirth, symbolizing the beginning of a perpetual cycle. London Symphony Orchestra; Lee Reynolds.