ALEXANDER LOKSHIN (1920-1987): Symphony No. 5 for Baritone and Chamber Orchestra “Shakespeare’s Sonnets” (No texts. Yan Kratov [baritone], Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Rudolf Barshai. rec. 1971), Clarinet Quintet (Ivan Mozgovenko [clarinet], Komitas Quartet. rec. 1960), Variations for Piano [Maria Grinberg. rec. 1956).
Catalogue Number: 01S033
Reference: MEL CD 10 02446
Description: Lokshin was a pupil of Myaskovsky and a friend of Shostakovich, and traces - though not imitation - of both can be found in his music. He wrote a number of 'symphonies with voice', a blend of symphonic drama and poetic expression; the fifth was dedicated to Barshai. The work comprises a vigorous, protesting first movement and a longer, exhausted, elegiac slow movement. There is an essential Russian-ness to the lamenting vocal line and the choice of texts from Shakespeare (sung in Pasternak's translation), ending with a final 'adieu' from Hamlet. An emphasis on melody also characterizes the Clarinet Quintet, an expressive, very romantic work in two movements, the second a set of variations in several of which - by the composer's own admission - Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks is an audible influence, while one sounds very like a conscious tribute to Mahler. The piano Variations, played here by the dedicatee, were described by the composer as 'Variations à la Shostakovich', but while the general harmonic vocabulary and pianistic textures are broadly familiar, they don't sound much like Shostakovich most of the time, and the piano writing is more romantic and fluid than one usually associates with his piano output, if anything harking back to, perhaps, Mussorgsky, or among Lokshin's contemporaries, Kabalevsky. At 25 minutes the work is a substantial essay in the time-honored form, of real quality of invention.