Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Myaskovsky, Kondrashin, USSR Symphony Orchestra|
Inspired reading of a great symphony, astringently recorded
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Miaskovsky's 6th is, in my opinion, one of the greatest of Russian symphonies, and its neglect somes unaccountable. This performance was available in the UK on imported LPs but was never given wide circulation. It has been joined by two DDD competitiors, from Stankovsky and Dudarova. Of these, it is clear to me that Kondrashin is head and shoulders about the competition, despite some sharp-sounding playing from time to time. The sheer weight of the strings at important moments is quite something. Overall, the Kondrashin has an inspiration that eludes the other versions. The first movement is notably more urgent and taut, yet also has more melancholy and atmosphere where appropriate. The climax to the whole work, apparently representing the moment when the soul leaves the body, is shattering in this performance. The drawback is the mono recording (late 50s) which although generally clear is on the harsh side. However, the resulting astringency is not totally alien to Kondrashin's conception of the week. I consider this performance to be essential listening. It has claims to be one of the finest, if not the finest, Miaskovsky symphony recordings ever recorded."
The recording of historical proportions.
David A. Hollingsworth | Washington, DC USA | 02/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Symphony no. VI in E-flat Minor of Nikolai Yakovlevich Myaskovsky (1881-1950) was completed by 1923 (begun by 1919). The great Nikolai Golovanov (with the orchestra and chorus of the Bolshoi) gave the premiere of the work by May 4th, 1924 and was virtually a stunning success.
There were two sides of the camp who gave their insights surrounding the importance of this masterpiece. One side hailed Myaskovsky's Sixth as the first socialist realist symphony (the use of the French revolutionary songs Ca Ira and the Cagmagnole were those the Soviets felt close identity with, especially after the 1918 Civil War between the Bolshevits and the Menshevits). The other side, however, regarded the Sixth Symphony as the end of the Russian Romanticism. The latter side has more credibility, since most Russian composers either left Russia for good (e.g. Lyapunov, Rachmaninov, Medtner, etc), passed away (Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Taneyev, Scriabin) or stopped writing symphonies of Russian traditionalism (e.g., Glazunov, Gliere). In addition, the Avant-Garde movement of 1920s Soviet Russia (key figures included Knipper, Mosolov, Roslavets, Shostakovich, Popov) placed Russian Romantic traditions at burial (only to be partially resurrected by 1930, when Socialist Realist policies took hold on every citizens (including musicians, artists, writers) of the Soviet Regime.
Myaskovsky's Sixth Symphony, slightly more so than the Fifth, signalled the coming of the new age. Perhaps, more significantly, the symphony represented Myaskovsky's continued search for his unique language. Hence, his music after 1910 until 1932 (with his Thirteenth Symphony) were searching, not ultimately experimental or Avant Garde (though his Fourth Piano Sonata came close). If I am to describe the Sixth Symphony, I must say it's a work of power, tragedy, pessimism, and comtemplation. There are moments of poetry and lucid passages (the trio section of the Second movement and the Third movement comes to mind). But the overall design permeates itself with anguish. Only do we reach the final bars of the work do we sense a sign of hope (though with reluctance and hesitation). The wealth of ideas is remarkable and the musical expressionism rather dynamic. The Sixth Symphony took over where the Third and Fourth Symphonies left off, with painful memories so much a part of the composer (besides the turmoil Russia faced, Myaskovsky lost his father by 1918, his aunt by 1921, and then his sisters). But the Sixth outshines the 3rd and 4th Symphonies in the emotional depth and structural and thematic maturity and discipline.
Therefore, performing the complex work requires conviction, appropriate phrasings, distinction, understanding of the score, understanding of the composer and his times, and flexibility and creativeness. Of the Dudarova (Olympia) and the Stankovsky (Marco Polo) performances, Kyrill Kondrashin with the USSR Symphony Orchestra and the Yurlov Russian Choir (Russian disc) gave the most convincing and telling performance. Kondrashin never ran the risk of being too plain and stiff, but manage to capture the passages with a great sense of anticipation and flexibility. Kondrashin's approach was the most dramatic, and really captured the darkness and the anguish this symphony has to offer. The USSR Symphony was astonishing in its responsiveness and the Yurlov Russian Choir was impressive. The brass tutti in the beginning of the First movement sounds prepared and in total unison (refined). Dudarova, who recorded other Myaskovsky's symphonies, gave overall a good and euphonious performance. She, however, lacked the sense of drama and emotional thrust of a Kondrashin. Stankovsky's reading overall is too much of "as a matter of fact."
The Russian Disc reissue of the 1959 Melodiya recording is a bit raw and overly spacious, but is adequate and clear nevertheless. I dare hope that this CD will never be deleted. Kondrashin's recording is a model, and always will.
->(try playing this symphony with the Asreal Symphony of Josef Suk-the symbols of turning points the composers never looked back upon & with no regrets).
Recommended, although this disc truly speaks for itself!"