ALEXANDER TCHAIKOVSKY (b.1946): Concerto No. 2 for Viola, Symphony Orchestra and Solo Piano “Etudes in Simple Tones” (Yuri Bashmet [viola], Ksenia Bashmet [piano]), Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 70 (Boris Berezovsky, Daria Tchaikovskaya [pianos]).
Catalogue Number: 08T060
Reference: MEL CD 10 02497
Description: Guilty pleasure alert! A favourite pupil of Khrennikov, Tchaikovsky writes ingratiating, tonal neo-romantic music that you will likely find irresistible even while bitterly reproaching yourself for doing so. Etudes, written as a vehicle for Bashmet, starts off rather unpromisingly as a piece of minimalism, with the viola playing irregular, changing arpeggios, the orchestra joining in after a while. The second movement starts in similar vein, but soon develops jazz-inflected Schnittkean polystylistic tendencies and Prokofiev-like motoric drive, and by the time the jauntily strutting 4th movement assumes apocalyptic dimensions, turns into a ragtime duet with the piano (the prominent part written into this cadenza to ensure the composer's participation in the work's première), and swells in a series of climactic false endings, we are truly into 'anything goes' territory. The concerto borrows liberally from Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, and excels in the kind of catchily memorable antics that distinguish Kabalevsky's relentlessly engaging works. The slow movement is lyrical, sentimental and serious; the finale pulls out every crowd-thrilling trick in the book to ensure a standing ovation. Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Mariss Jansons.