VALENTIN SILVESTROV (b.1937): Symphony No. 2 for Flute, Percussion Instruments, Piano and Strings (Ensemble of Soloists of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra rec. live 1968), Spectrums for Chamber Orchestra (Leningrad Chamber Orchestra. rec. live 1965), Meditation for Cello and Orchestra (Valentin Potapov [cello], Kiev Chamber Orchestra. rec. live 1976), Cantata for Soprano and Orchestra (Nelly Lee [soprano], Chamber Orchestra "Perpetuum Mobile". rec. 1983), Farewell, o World...! for Baritone and Chamber Orchestra (arr. Igor Blazhkov [b.1939]. Yuri Olijnik [baritone], Chamber Ensemble. rec. 1991).

Catalogue Number: 03Q065

Label: Wergo

Reference: WER 6731 2

Format: CD

Price: $23.98

Description: This is an immensely valuable release in making widely available pioneering recordings from the 1960s and 70s by the composer's friend and early champion Igor Blazhkov of works from that period of Silvestrov's career. These pieces are all from Silvestrov's avant-garde period, which earned him much attention in the west (to which he was not allowed to travel), and notoriety at home. Three of the works are described as 'symphonies', though only one has that title, and it is only the half-hour Meditation that sounds remotely symphonic in structure and scale. This is an intriguing work; atonal overall, like the others here, it nevertheless repeatedly resolves onto oases of ravishing, late-romantic harmony of the kind that characterises his more familiar, later period that began a few years after this 1972 piece; the central 'slow movement' is a clear precursor of the kind of writing that dominates the later numbered symphonies. Spectrums was music associated with a narratively abstract film (never completed because of censorship), and the piece abounds in imagery of light, with fragments of sound distributed coloristically among the highest instrumental registers. Both this and the Second Symphony contain a good deal of aleatoric writing, especially as regards precise co-ordination between instruments within precisely notated time-periods indicated by the conductor. Farewell, O World is from the seminal Silent Songs, which marked the composer's stylistic volte-face in the 1970s, here performed in Blazhkov's 1991 orchestration. No texts. Igor Blazhkov (conductor).


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