War Music - Volume 16

LEONID POLOVINKIN (1894-1949): Symphony No. 7, Heroic Overture, Music from the Film The Sunny Tribe.

Catalogue Number: 02N003

Label: 2L

Reference: NF/PMA 99987

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: What an impressive composer Polovinkin is turning out to have been. We noted three months ago that his Symphony No. 9 contained connections with the late Russian Romanticism of the Mighty Five, making that work quite unlike what one might expect from a Soviet composing a symphony in wartime. The Seventh comes from two years earlier (1942), begun in Moscow and finished in evacuation quarters in Tashkent. It's quite a bit shorter (31 minutes as opposed to 49), making it even more "classical" in length as well as in form: the first movement has the most lovely, folk-tinged second subject and, while there is a striding march, it's not blastingly militaristic and Polovinkin's handling of these disparate elements is utterly assured; a short, pastoral, utterly relaxed and lovely Andante pastorale follows, itself giving way to a dancing scherzo with roots in Russian dances of the Borodin type while the finale returns to the conflicts of the first movement but gaining a bright and optimistic conclusion without any resort to stridency or bombast. The Heroic Overture (also 1942) must have been Polovinkin's repository of choice for the latter although it's not too brain-battering while the 18-minute suite of music for a documentary on bees (that's right, bees, in 1944 - and it won the first prize at the 1947 world festival of documentary cinema) is a startlingly creative and innovative set of seven movements which make you wonder what this composer wasn't good at (note: as a young man he also excelled at soccer, ice hockey and tennis!). St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Titov.


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