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Miaskovsky: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 10
Nikolay Myaskovsky, Michael Halasz, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Miaskovsky: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 10
Genre: Classical
 
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CD Details

All Artists: Nikolay Myaskovsky, Michael Halasz, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Title: Miaskovsky: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 10
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Marco Polo
Release Date: 12/17/1992
Genre: Classical
Styles: Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 730099311328
 

CD Reviews

Miaskovsky: Soviet Modernist
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 01/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Oswald Spengler remarks in "The Decline of the West" that in the eighteenth century composers wrote copiously and competently all at once, as if it were akin to walking or breathing; whereas, by the nineteenth century, composing had come to seem a labor, against which the composer worked. So Haydn cheerfully wrote 104 symphonies, while Beethoven could only reach nine. When we hear that Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950) wrote twenty-seven symphonies, the last one in the year of his death, we respond with suspicion. Can they be any good? Surely it must have been hackwork? Judging by those of them that have been issued in the West (about a third of the total), Miaskovsky maintained a high level of artistic inspiration and technical mastery. Right from the beginning, in Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, one detects the presence of a serious composer capable of manipulating ideas on a large scale and in a convincing way. His sound-world is dark and rather melancholy, relieved here and there by balletic exercise, much as one expects under the category of "Russian Symphony." There is a noticeable modern element, too, in those works that Miaskovsky contributed to the genre in the first two decades of the twentieth century - audacious harmonies that rival those of Scriabin in their chromatic thickness. So Miaskovsky appears to suspend Spengler's rule that, as modernity advances, real creativity becomes more and more difficult until the artists simply aren't up to it anymore. (Moses Vainberg also wrote a large number of symphonies, possibly more than Miaskovsky if one counts the works called "Chamber Symphony.") The rumor says that Yevgeny Svetlanov recorded all of Miaskovsky's symphonies. One or two in this series were released at widely spread intervals and in different media in the West - Symphony No. 22 (1943) and Symphony No. 17 (1935); other Russian recordings have appeared (on the discontinued Classical Revelation label) with Gennady Rozhdestvensky as conductor. The closest thing to a unified traversal, however, has so far been Robert Stankovsky's now more-than-a-decade-old series for Marco Polo. It eventually encompassed nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 but latterly ceased to make progress. Here I deal with Stankovsky's recording of Symphonies Nos. 7 (1922) and 10 (1927). Symphony No. 7 is one of Miaskovsky's mildly "experimental" symphonies, at least in terms of its form. It has two movements rather than three or four, on his usual pattern. In sound, be it said, both movements stick fairly close to convention, although there are still a few Scriabinesque passages based on chords of the fourth. (See 11.30 and following on the disc.) Symphony No. 10, like Symphony No. 21 (1940), is in one movement and has programmatic references to Leningrad. In terms of formal compression, it too qualifies as experimental; it also represents Miaskovsky's last fling at Scriabinesque modernism. Certain aspects of the score are indeed expressionist in vocabulary and conform to the "avant-garde" artistic activity that made Leningrad anathema to Stalin from the mid-1930s onward. In fact, Symphony No. 10 is a Lisztian symphonic poem inspired by illustrations to Pushkin's poem "The Bronze Horseman." Like Pushkin's poem, it courts the phantasmagoric; it deals with distressed psychologies and nightmarish imagery. Michael Halász, leading the Slovak Philharmonic, does not shy from Miaskovsky's expressionism. The performance is good and so too the sound."
Miaskovsky the Expressionist
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 01/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Oswald Spengler remarks in ?The Decline of the West? that in the eighteenth century composers wrote copiously and competently all at once, as if it were akin to walking or breathing; whereas, by the nineteenth century, composing had come to seem a labor, against which the composer worked. So Haydn cheerfully wrote 104 symphonies, while Beethoven could only reach nine. When we hear that Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950) wrote twenty-seven symphonies, the last one in the year of his death, we respond with suspicion. Can they be any good? Surely it must have been hackwork? Judging by those of them that have been issued in the West (about a third of the total), Miaskovsky maintained a high level of artistic inspiration and technical mastery. Right from the beginning, in Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, one detects the presence of a serious composer capable of manipulating ideas on a large scale and in a convincing way. His sound-world is dark and rather melancholy, relieved here and there by balletic exercise, much as one expects under the category of ?Russian Symphony.? There is a noticeable modern element, too, in those works that Miaskovsky contributed to the genre in the first two decades of the twentieth century ? audacious harmonies that rival those of Scriabin in their chromatic thickness. So Miaskovsky appears to suspend Spengler?s rule that, as modernity advances, real creativity becomes more and more difficult until the artists simply aren?t up to it anymore. (Moses Vainberg also wrote a large number of symphonies, possibly more than Miaskovsky if one counts the works called ?Chamber Symphony.?) The rumor says that Yevgeny Svetlanov recorded all of Miaskovsky?s symphonies. One or two in this series were released at widely spread intervals and in different media in the West ? Symphony No. 22 (1943) and Symphony No. 17 (1935); other Russian recordings have appeared (on the discontinued Classical Revelation label) with Gennady Rozhdestvensky as conductor. The closest thing to a unified traversal, however, has so far been Robert Stankovsky?s now more-than-a-decade-old series for Marco Polo. It eventually encompassed nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 but latterly ceased to make progress. Here I deal with Stankovsky?s recording of Symphonies Nos. 7 (1922) and 10 (1927). Symphony No. 7 is one of Miaskovsky?s mildly ?experimental? symphonies, at least in terms of its form. It has two movements rather than three or four, on his usual pattern. In sound, be it said, both movements stick fairly close to convention, although there are still a few Scriabinesque passages based on chords of the fourth. (See 11.30 and following on the disc.) Symphony No. 10, like Symphony No. 21 (1940), is in one movement and has programmatic references to Leningrad. In terms of formal compression, it too qualifies as experimental; it also represents Miaskovsky?s last fling at Scriabinesque modernism. Certain aspects of the score are indeed expressionist in vocabulary and conform to the ?avant-garde? artistic activity that made Leningrad anathema to Stalin from the mid-1930s onward. In fact, Symphony No. 10 is a Lisztian symphonic poem inspired by illustrations to Pushkin?s poem ?The Bronze Horseman.? Like Pushkin?s poem, it courts the phantasmagoric; it deals with distressed psychologies and nightmarish imagery. Michael Halász, leading the Slovak Philharmonic, does not shy from Miaskovsky?s expressionism. The performance is good and so too the sound."