What a pleasant surprise!
David A. Hollingsworth | Washington, DC USA | 02/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Never had I heard anything significant about Vladimir Dukelsky (1903-1969). But then I saw this CD at Tower Records and decided to buy it. Then I listened, and listened further, until I said to myself why was this composer an enigma. Then I played Mosolov's Zavod (from the ballet "Stal" of 1926). I found the style and language of Dukelsky and Mosolov more of similarity than the other way. "Zephyr et Flore" of 1925 is more Prokofievian with touches of Mosolov while Epitaphe reminds me more of Mosolov and perhaps even Popov. His ballet "Zephyr et Flore" was a product of the Avant Garde 1920s where experimentation and breaking boundaries ruled. The idiom has touches of Prokofiev (mostly), Poulenc, and to an extent Alexander Tcherepnin. Prokofiev promoted Dukelsky's music in the former USSR and in the West and Poulenc and even Myaskovsky were right in pointing out the close parallels between the ballet and Prokofiev's works of the time (though again I detect echos of Mosolov as well).The story of the ballet is simple. Zephyr and Boreas were brothers who happen to fall in love with Flore, the Spring. The brothers fought for her love but the end result, well, we don't know. Dukelsky's music is staightforward, lucid, and vivid. The thematic ideas tend to be fragmented in places, but expressive and appealing nevertheless. The performances of Gennadi Rozdestvensky and the Residentie Orchestra The Hague were altogether well done, though not totally convincing (Rozhdestvensky's chose of tempo may be the blame for this and I sense a degree of uncertainty in the orchestra's playing at some passages). The Netherlands Theatre Choir and soprano Ilma Achmadeeva sang with warmth in Epitaphe and the musical summary is well written by Natalya Savkina. It will be interesting if Rozhdestvensky's next product will be Mosolov's ballet "Stal", the ballet of great importance of 1920s Avant Garde movement in the USSR and in the West. This disc is nevertheless a welcome issue!"
From Ballet to Broadway
David A. Hollingsworth | 08/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vernon Duke began life as Vladimir Dukelsky in Russia where he was born in 1903. This recording is of a Ballet he wrote for Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo when he was 21 years old. It is a remarkable work for such a young man and it is interesting to note he later wrote "April In Paris", "Autumn in New York" "Cabin in the Sky" and many other familiar standards. It's a terrific recording - buy it!"