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09-18-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 2869
Reply to: 2869
Getting Started with Myaskovsky

A few weeks ago Amphissa sent me a collection of recordings of Myaskovsky. I knew Myaskovsky, head his Sixth Symphon, “something else” and his cello concerto but to have a pile of selected CDs by a great aficionado of the Myaskovsky's music really helped to see a different perspective in the “Forgotten Russians”.  Amphissa accompanied his CDs with a wonderful writing that I feel is too good not to be published….

Myaskovsky: The Forgotten Russian
by Amphissa 

Myaskovsky arrived in Moscow in 1906 having completed military training as a young officer. But his real love was music. He had received some training by his aunt, and had already developed into a budding composer. He began studying composition and piano with faculty at Moscow Conservatory - Gliere and Kryzhanovsky. But he was required to return to St. Petersburg to fulfill his military assignment. He enrolled for advanced military training, just so he could study music under Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov. When he completed his advanced training, he resigned from the military (to his father’s great distress) to continue in music.
 
Myaskovsky fell in with friends who made a point of importing as much of the music by contemporary composers as they could, and exploring avant garde music of the time, reading poetry and literature, debating the ideas of politics, philosophy and history. This breadth of exposure to ideas found expression in his compositions.
 
Myaskovsky developed his own voice musically very early on. His early symphonies and symphonic poems had dense textures, unusual harmonies, and potent conceptual structures. He is often remembered (if at all) for his 27 symphonies. But in fact, symphonies comprised only a third of his published works. He also wrote concerti for cello and violin, symphonic poems, 13 string quartets, 9 piano sonatas, songs, and assorted other chamber music.
 
This document offers a brief guide to Myaskovsky’s orchestral compositions, intended for those who are interested and looking for a place to start. It is organized by opus number, thus beginning with his most experimental works, and progressing through his lyrical period under Soviet rule.
 
“Silence”, op. 9 (1909-1910) is an orchestral poem based on a fable by that title written by Edgar Allan Poe. The fable upon which the piece is based is attached. In it, a Demon recounts the story of how he tormented a man in the Congo. The man was seated on a rock on the edge of a churning river. The river was bordered by water-lilies and surrounded by a forest of poisonous flowers. The man trembled in fear but did not run from the world he saw. The Demon then cast a spell that turned the world into a violent one. The winds raged. The earth shook, but the man remained, although trembling. The Demon then cast a spell of silence. The Earth ceased to move. The wind stopped, as did the water. There was complete silence. The man stood and strained to hear something. The man was then overcome with terror and "fled afar off, in haste."
 
Myaskovsky was called to the front in 1914 and wrote no music during WWI. When he returned, he was shell-shocked and suffering from PTSD. His 4th Symphony, completed in 1918 was a deeply emotional piece, dark with the horror of war, yet fascinating in its powerful imagery. But, as he himself explained, Symphony No. 5 in D major, op. 18, completed immediately afterward in the same year, was a more optimistic piece. This symphony is filled with celebration and engaging melodies, intermixed with some of his signature complex harmonies, to create a symphony that picks up where Tchaikovsky left off, progressing through Scriabin to achieve his own unique voice.
 
The 5th symphony was a genuine sensation throughout Europe. Myaskovsky was hailed as (finally) the Russian successor to Tchaikovsky. There have been quite a few recordings of this symphony over the years. I prefer the first recording, by Ivanov in 1978. Kondrashin would be a good alternative, if you can find it. Rozhdestvensky is 5 minutes faster than Ivanov and sounds rushed; Svetlanov is 6 minutes longer and drags terribly, and Downes with the BBC Philharmonic sounds far too British to me.
 
The 5th symphony opens with an extraordinarily enchanting melody. See if you can place it.
 
It was another 4 years before Myaskovsky finally completed his Symphony No. 6 in E flat minor, op. 23. By now, Russia had not only suffered through the great war, but also the terrible progression of the Revolution from idealistic change to deadly civil war. Myaskovsky’s father was shot and killed before his eyes, his aunt died shortly thereafter.
 
The symphony opens with a great dissonant shout, originating he said from hearing a prominent official shouting at a mass rally “Death! Death to the enemies of the Revolution!” One of the important influences on Myaskovsky’s conception of this symphony was the Belgian poet Verhaeren’s “The Dawns,” which conveyed the idea that revolution requires martyrs in order to succeed. In “The Dawns,” the revolutionary main character dies and the people pay homage to him. Myaskovsky said that these ideas established the conception of the 6th symphony. But it is, in fact, much more than that. The symphony is a memorial to those who had died in the turmoil of war and revolution, expressing the anger and passion, fervor and fear, sorrow and hope.
 
The final movement incorporates two French revolutionary songs, their joyful voices resounding victory. But it is hollow victory. The reality re-emerges. The Dies Irae provides a ground for memorial. A song of Russian religious dissidents becomes the motif. And the entry of the chorus singing is a most powerful culmination:
 
Of the Separation of the Soul from the Body
 
What have we seen? A wonder of wonders,
A wonder of wonders, a dead body.
And the soul was departing the body,
Departing, yea bidding farewell.
And lo, thou, o soul, goeth to the judgment of God,
And thou, o body, resteth in the damp Mother-earth.
 
Myaskovsky’s 6th symphony is one of the great symphonies of the 20th century. It too was a sensation when it premiered under the baton of Golovanov. It has been recorded to date six times (a seventh is being released as this is written). Of these recordings, Kondrashin’s first recording of 1959 is a touchstone against which all subsequent recordings must stand. At a little over 65 minutes, the tempos are ideal. As might be expected of Russian recordings from this period, the orchestra is a bit sloppy, the chorus is even worse, and the audio is not terrific. But there is a spark and tension throughout this performance that brings it to life, and it thus is first choice for those who demand the most “idiomatic” recording.
 
Of the other recordings, Dudarova slogs in at 70+ minutes, Stankovsky is wooden, and Kondrashin’s second recording of 1978 at 57 minutes is breathlessly rushed. Svetlanov offers a very fine performance with much better audio, but he uses an orchestral transcription, omitting the chorus, thus destroying the power of the final movement. The best is Jarvi’s excellent 2002 recording, which delivers all the goods, with a polished orchestra and chorus, and very good audio. Since the 1959 Kondrashin may be difficult to find, and may not appeal to those who prefer more modern recordings, the Jarvi is by far the best modern choice.
 
Symphony No. 15 in D minor, op. 38 was completed in 1935. It is an interesting comparison to the 5th symphony. By this time, 20 years later, Myaskovsky was a professor at Moscow Conservatory, highly respected, enormously popular in Russia. But this was the time of the Great Terror in Russia, and Stalin’s musical taste did not abide dissonance or experimentation. This period saw Myaskovsky temper his harmonic innovation and produce some of his most beautiful late-romantic music. The 15th symphony marks the beginning of that time. It is a symphony filled with great melodies that intertwine in innovative ways, exuding a rare sense of optimism. Kondrashin’s recording is unsurpassed.
 
The Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 44 is also a product of this period, completed in 1938. It was dedicated to David Oistrakh, who premiered the work and then recorded it the following year. The audio is rather thin and wiry. For those who prefer a more modern recording with better audio, the recording by Repin is quite good.
 
The symphonies that Myaskovsky wrote during this period sought a simpler style, lighter in sensibility, and less satisfying musically for Myaskovsky. With his Symphony No. 21 in F sharp minor, op. 51, he found a more satisfying solution. This work was commissioned by Frederick Stock, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for the 50th anniversary celebration of the orchestra. It is a relatively short piece in one movement. My preferred recording of this symphony is by Gould and the Chicago Symphony, available only on LP. It is 14 and a half minutes. My second choice would be the recording by Ormandy with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which is available in a boxed set of Ormandy recordings. Other recordings, by Ivanov, , and Svetlanov are less successful. The most readily available, by Svetlanov, is taken at a slow tempo, clocking in at 18 minutes! Nonetheless, any recording of this symphony is worth hearing, because it is so exceptionally good. Myaskovsky was awarded the Stalin Prize for this symphony. It is probably his most popular work around the world (if one can call anything by Myaskovsky popular).
 
The Cello Concerto in C minor, op. 66, was completed in 1944. The concerto is in two movements and embodies the trademark sense of melancholy that pervades so much of Myaskovsky’s work. It is a deeply pensive work, ideally written for cello. Recordings abound by the best cellists – Rostropovich (four times), Ivashkin, Lloyd-Webber, Maisky, Moerk, Rodin, Rudin, Simon, Tarasova. Many of these performances are just plain too slow. However beautifully performed, the music is melancholy enough. There’s no need to belabor it and drive it into the ground. A good recording of this concerto should clock in around 29 minutes.
 
My favorite recording, by Natalia Gutman, is unfortunately not available on CD. Of the four recordings by Rostropovich, only one is easily available – with the Philharmonia conducted by Sargent. The recording by Tarasova sounds overly rushed and lacks romance, and the orchestra accompanying her is less that substantial. Ivashkin and Moerk are both over 31 minutes, and Rodin slogs in at a mind-numbing 36:45. That leaves Victor Simon, a name virtually unknown outside Russia – and a CD virtually unattainable from any source outside Russia. He plays the first movement just slightly slower than Rostropovich and Gutman, but the second about the same tempo, so he concludes at 29:21. And he plays with great panache and insight. I like his recording better every time I hear it. I think a few years ago the Penguin Guide gave the nod to Maisky, and of the most easily found recordings, I concur.
 
Finally, to conclude this introduction, we must hear something from the very last part of his life. In 1948, Myaskovsky was censured by the government along with Shostakovich and his dear friend, Prokofiev, and was dismissed from his post as head of the Moscow Conservatory. He was already in poor health and his condition deteriorated over the next year. In 1949, as he became progressively more ill, he delayed surgery to complete his Symphony No. 27 in C minor, op. 85. It is hard to imagine that anyone who could write music as compelling and utterly engaging as this could be condemned on artistic grounds. But of course, the censure was not about music, it was about envy and animosity.
 
There are several recordings of the 27th, including Gauk (to whom it was dedicated) in the first recording. It is passionate and well played. But I rather like the quicker opening tempo of Svetlanov, and the outsized swagger of the brass in the last movement, which one reviewer characterized as a hint of satire that exposes the Soviets as too big for their britches. (The one other recording, by Polyansky, is a little too reserved and small-scaled in the end.)
 
Myaskovsky died in 1950. His music had been banned, his existence erased by the authorities. Some decades later, he was “posthumously rehabilitated,” as they put it. But he has yet to benefit from the kind of full-on revitalization that Shostakovich enjoyed. I think that time is coming.
 
That concludes this brief sampling of recordings of Myaskovsky’s orchestral music, representing the entire career of a fine composer who has been, to my mind, unfortunately forgotten. I can honestly say that I enjoy listening to his music as much as I do many other composers. His unique voice and gift for blending harmonic tension with melody make for interesting listening – at least for me.
 
I encourage others to begin exploring the music of this forgotten master.
 
Amphissa

Silence, A Fable by Edgar Allan Poe


ALCMAN. The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags and caves are silent.
 
"LISTEN to me," said the Demon as he placed his hand upon my head. "The region of which I speak is a dreary region in , by the borders of the river . And there is no quiet there, nor silence.
 
"The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river's oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the other.
 
"But there is a boundary to their realm -- the boundary of the dark, horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the , the low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits, one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots strange poisonous flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a rustling and loud noise, the gray clouds rush westwardly forever, until they roll, a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river there is neither quiet nor silence.
 
"It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall and the rain fell upon my head -- and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation.
 
"And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, and was crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a huge gray rock which stood by the shore of the river, and was lighted by the light of the moon. And the rock was gray, and ghastly, and tall, -- and the rock was gray. Upon its front were characters engraven in the stone; and I walked through the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto the shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone. But I could not decypher them. And I was going back into the morass, when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock, and upon the characters; -- and the characters were DESOLATION.
 
"And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the summit of the rock; and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I might discover the actions of the man. And the man was tall and stately in form, and was wrapped up from his shoulders to his feet in the toga of old . And the outlines of his figure were indistinct -- but his features were the features of a deity; for the mantle of the night, and of the mist, and of the moon, and of the dew, had left uncovered the features of his face. And his brow was lofty with thought, and his eye wild with care; and, in the few furrows upon his cheek I read the fables of sorrow, and weariness, and disgust with mankind, and a longing after solitude.
 
"And the man sat upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his hand, and looked out upon the desolation. He looked down into the low unquiet shrubbery, and up into the tall primeval trees, and up higher at the rustling heaven, and into the crimson moon. And I lay close within shelter of the lilies, and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude; -- but the night waned, and he sat upon the rock.
 
"And the man turned his attention from the heaven, and looked out upon the dreary river , and upon the yellow ghastly waters, and upon the pale legions of the water-lilies. And the man listened to the sighs of the water-lilies, and to the murmur that came up from among them. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude; -- but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.
 
"Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded afar in among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto the hippopotami which dwelt among the fens in the recesses of the morass. And the hippopotami heard my call, and came, with the behemoth, unto the foot of the rock, and roared loudly and fearfully beneath the moon. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude; -- but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.
 
"Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult; and a frightful tempest gathered in the heaven where, before, there had been no wind. And the heaven became livid with the violence of the tempest -- and the rain beat upon the head of the man -- and the floods of the river came down -- and the river was tormented into foam -- and the water-lilies shrieked within their beds -- and the forest crumbled before the wind -- and the thunder rolled -- and the lightning fell -- and the rock rocked to its foundation. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude; -- but the night waned and he sat upon the rock.
 
"Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed, and were still. And the moon ceased to totter up its pathway to heaven -- and the thunder died away -- and the lightning did not flash -- and the clouds hung motionless -- and the waters sunk to their level and remained -- and the trees ceased to rock -- and the water-lilies sighed no more -- and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked upon the characters of the rock, and they were changed; -- and the characters were SILENCE.
 
"And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his head from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock and listened. But there was no voice throughout the vast illimitable desert, and the characters upon the rock were SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and turned his face away, and fled afar off, in haste, so that I beheld him no more."
 
Now there are fine tales in the volumes of the Magi -- in the iron-bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I say, are glorious histories of the Heaven, and of the Earth, and of the mighty sea -- and of the Genii that over-ruled the sea, and the earth, and the lofty heaven. There was much lore too in the sayings which were said by the Sybils; and holy, holy things were heard of old by the dim leaves that trembled around Dodona -- but, as Allah liveth, that fable which the Demon told me as he sat by my side in the shadow of the tomb, I hold to be the most wonderful of all! And as the Demon made an end of his story, he fell back within the cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I could not laugh with the Demon, and he cursed me because I could not laugh. And the lynx which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came out therefrom, and lay down at the feet of the Demon, and looked at him steadily in the face.




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-13-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 2944
Reply to: 2869
Miaskovsky. Cello Concerto.

As some of you have seen in my little run across Cello concertos:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=2630

where I suggested that Rostropovich and Svetlanov with Russian State did the best Miaskovsky Cello Concerto that I’ve heard. Well, up to now….

In the collection of the CDs that David sent me there was a great recording of Miaskovsky’s Cello Concerto in 1986 by Victor Simon with Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under baton of Vladimir Fedoseyev.

We are taking about the playing that Russian Romantic repertoire! Russian music is always overly hysteric, almost stupidly sentimental, purposefully melancholic, too frenzy up to the point of being masochistic. One of the most  “interesting for observations” moments of in Russian Romanism is observation of that semi-masochistic self-distractedness. It is not the western musical self-distractedness when musical plot is frequently (not always of course) lost in the questionable melodyzm or purposeless of orchestrations. It is the very Slav musicality when a tormented Russky is trying to making mountain out a molehill but…. while he’s doing it everyone, including the listener, get some pleasure (if the Russian was talented enough of course)…

Miaskovsky unquestionably was talented so the Victor Simon. What I do like about Simon’s play that it do not sound “overly professional”. In Rostropovich’s play of the concerto is it clearly heard that it is the playing of manure and seasoned professional. Even the moments of “weeping impressionism” Rostropovich rather “render” then “just play”. It is not that Rostropovich mechanical or anything like this. He is wonderful and he even more “balanced” then Simon. But listening the Rostropovich’s Concerto I sometimes catch myself that some phrases are very Miaskovsky-like and no Schumann or Brahms would be expressing themselves like this… Simon is different. Victor Simon is no immature figure. Principal Cellist, professor of Conservatory, great teacher and author of books about cello playing… but in this performance he sounds more like a prodigy-student who performs his graduation concert… and I feel more like a percent of this child.  Here do not think about Schumann or Brahms but let the Miaskovsky  to be Miaskovsky. Simon does all the same “Russian things” but here is when a listener’s embraces the “Russian things” and let them to be, particularly in the first movement…..

A wonderful performance, wonderfully recorded… I’m sorry I never herd it before…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-28-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 3212
Reply to: 2869
Diving into Nikolai Myaskovsky…

I have to confess a sin - I was listening today the Myaskovsky’s cello concerto 5 times. It is not that I got hooked on Myaskovsky but Amphissa was right  - Myaskovsky does have his own unique voice.

Myaskovsky is kind of a mix between Prokofiev, Brahms and Nikolai Medtner. He has sometimes the Brahms’ brilliants, sometimes the Prokofiev’s spontaneity and sometimes the Medtner lack of geniuses. However, all together it crates own absolutely exclusive spider-net of own “Myaskovskiness”…

It is sufficiently melodic, it is adequately effective, and it is satisfactorily smart. Myaskovsky music is not as powerful music might be but it is very far from the “evaluator music”.  The Himalayan Mountains are grotesquely beautiful. The Loire Valley with its castles is graphically amusing. Myaskovsky’s music is not grotesque or “amusing”. It kind of “stay behind” and it has impressiveness of … a desert beauty. It is ironic how much beauty could be in a regular desert landscape…. Partially if you spend then a long time and learn to understand it…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-11-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amphissa
Elsewhere
Posts 14
Joined on 07-17-2006

Post #: 4
Post ID: 3295
Reply to: 3212
recordings of the cello concerto
Romy, there is a project to reissue all of Svetlanov's recordings. Eventually, I hope, this project will make available the recording of the cello concerto by Natalia Gutman, which IMO is better than any of the recordings by Rostropovich.

I do not know how to describe Myaskovsky's music in ways that relate to his own world, since I never lived in Russia. To me, his cello concerto, and much of his other music, has a melancholy feeling, pensive, lonely. His music is very different from his friend Prokofiev, and from his compatriot Shostakovich. It is a landscape of resignation and sadness for his country, but also of hope. And when he was censured by the Soviets, after so many decades as one of the great composers of his era, I think this simply re-affirmed his belief that good men necessarily fall to make a better world. If you listen to the 27th symphony, there you hear his answer to them, music of great beauty and energy and hope.

I do not hear a desert landscape in his music. But it is a complex world he creates, very different from others around him. Sometimes it is a haunted dream, as in "Silence." Sometimes it is a tender lyrical dance, as in the opening of the 5th Symphony. And sometimes it is just absolute, sheer beauty, as in the 25th Symphony. And that is what I find so intriguing about Myaskovsky. He was a man of many moods, and wrote in many styles, often juxtaposing and contrasting these elements in surprising ways.
12-12-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 3296
Reply to: 3295
I wonder if Myaskovsky loved Mahler…

Well, let call it Slav music.

All Russian composers of 20 century were in one way of other took the torch from Rimsky-Korsakov. Ironically I’m not a big fun of Rimsky-Korsakov’ symphonic music because it is too Slav, overwhelmingly and insultingly Slav. (I feel the realm where Rimsky-Korsakov was brilliant were his operas). Myaskovsky kind of went after Rimsky-Korsakov but he has his…. “on strange puss in it”… as Tony Soprano use to say... You right, it is very difficult to describe Myaskovsky music. What is interesting that Myaskovsky made his own “sound” (at least for me) but the volume of his compositions. When you listen juts one of his symphones and do not pay attention to anything else then it sounds OK but still is “not good enough” to be a great work. Then, what you listen more and more of his composition and developing some acquired taste then you realize that something that you realized as “weakness” or something “not enough” is in fact a signature of own voice. Myaskovsky has some very odd, very subdued “expressionism within” and to “get” expressionism it requires being “tined” to that type of expressionism. To listen a whole week juts Myaskovsky really helps… Oops! One of them were not Myaskovsky b ut it was Prokofiev’s Six Symphony.. Oh, perhaps I confused something…. :-)

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-12-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amphissa
Elsewhere
Posts 14
Joined on 07-17-2006

Post #: 6
Post ID: 3299
Reply to: 3296
Expressionism
Myaskovsky always said that his music was grounded in the tradition of Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, and of course, Tchaikovsky, so that is where the beauty and lyrical portions of his music derived from. But he was part of the avant-garde movement in the early 1900s of Russia. Wagner was very influential, and the spiritualism of Scriabin. Myaskovsky was familiar with Schoenberg's music too, and also Sibelius, Bartok, Zemlimsky and Berg. But of course, he just selected a few elements of more modern tonalities to build on in his own music -- those complex harmonies that made for the rich sound structures, and the uncertainty of key that finds its way into some movements and tone poems. He was never as abrasive as other composers of that era, he never allowed himself to be locked into a "system" or "method" of composing. And he had no discomfort blending the lyricism of the late romantics within his works.

I do not know how well he knew the music of Mahler. Certainly they have some ideas in common, but Myaskovsky was never as ostentatious as Mahler. Of course, he was a much more versatile composer than Mahler. Mahler had a few ideas (both musically and programmatically), which he reworked over and over again in his symphonies. Myaskovsky wrote chamber music, concertos, symphonies, symphonic poems, with great variety of concept and rich in ideas.

Was Myaskovsky an expressionist? That may be a good description. Certainly he was of the same era and kinship with the great Russian expressionistic painter Kandinsky, and drew upon many of the more innovative writers of the era as inspiration. And like many Russians, he loved the haunting writings of Edgar Allan Poe, whose works were extraordinarily popular in Russian translation during the early 1900s.
12-14-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 3304
Reply to: 3299
The deficiency of Performing Colors…

 Amphissa wrote:
I do not know how well he knew the music of Mahler. Certainly they have some ideas in common, but Myaskovsky was never as ostentatious as Mahler. Of course, he was a much more versatile composer than Mahler. Mahler had a few ideas (both musically and programmatically), which he reworked over and over again in his symphonies. Myaskovsky wrote chamber music, concertos, symphonies, symphonic poems, with great variety of concept and rich in ideas.

It was exactly why I was mocking this question.

BTW, listening Myaskovsky I very sorry that not a lot of other orchestras beside Russian played him. Russian orchestras are mostly chrome-less and have own b/w-type of sound. They could be articulate and they could be expressive but in many other arias than color vividness.  Although, Russian do not play a lot of Mahler but they would be good for him. Mahler, with all his colorful complexity is in a way wearing a gipsy-color skirt and his colors are primary colors, bold, and in a way primitive colors – good for today’s Russian orchestras. With Myaskovsky, like with most of the Russian composers, everything is more complicated. Russian music is kind of color-challenged and to play Russian music is very beneficial to have very color-loaded orchestras. None of the Russian orchestras are qualified since the sound of Boris Khaikin’s Bolshoy and the Golovanov’s Radio Orchestra in 50s. Some very few western orchestras could “colorize” the colors-subdued Russian music. Chicago and Czech Philharmonic in 60s had “the colors”. Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic were able to do “colors” since begin of the time and even in 90s and perhaps nowadays. It would be so interesting if some color-capable orchestras commit Myaskovsky to recording media. Would it be so useful to hear for instance the enigmatic Myaskovsky 27th Symphony painted in a style of the best Dutch 17th-century painters ….

Rgs,
The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Dominic
Montreal, Canada
Posts 69
Joined on 08-23-2006

Post #: 8
Post ID: 3771
Reply to: 3304
regarding speed and things - reading
I've been attentive to all that ive found out about Furtwangler lately and the strength of his readings seems to be borne across by how fast things go. So the question was raised, reading the notes you transcribed above, whether the validity of a quick reading of Myaskovsky should be left judged by the writer of said. Having not ever heard any Mya that i know of i'm really in no position to judge, but unless it's very quiet when i'm listening, some vitality through speed is welcome.


As far as colour goes are you refering to absolutes, or to say, nuance in colour?
Russian culture seems to have an interesting relationship with colour, i mean look at St Basil, and then to the washed out blue on an 'Aeroflot' craft. But at the same time much of the colour in the society seems to come in a sort of vulgar way, partly since the berlin wall people have imported the shmaltiest crap. But maybe that's my own perspective on colour. For a long time in my life i essentially disowned colour and even dismissed speed outside of necessity, largely as gross indecency of a society that was incincere and hence wholy vulgar and bankrupt. Some of that has changed, i've learned much from budhism and tao, and the deeper sides of mysticism (sorry if this sounds cheesy) to forgive and even embrace society's faults, i still have misgivings but i'm more open to colours, and bounciness, general frivolty because sometimes they can be real. Sometimes bloated solidstate bass can be real too. Anyway what i'd like to point towards here is, oh wait this wasn't my point, but serves as a good background for the idea so i'll leave it.

So back to nuance and things. i brought up a particular topic before in regards to colour and things.
I was talking about modern video reproduction and dynamic range but soon after i started thinking about other parts of that. Colour has many properties, the information can be thought of in terms of how pure it is, how much light can be seen from it, importantly to me, one can see and understand not only many tones and colours but visual information that has nothing to do with other visula information, for example: a sepia toned photograph displayed on my computer screen and the (if i pay attention) the differences in colours on the bark of the tree outside my window through the sheer curtain, and i can see and understand both while holding a very brightly coloured pen. Next to this is that our reproducing media cannot fully capture any one of those accurately and in no way can mannage all at once. But that's not really what i was getting at. What i've been getting at is that colour in sound has perhaps as many manifestations (ignoring audio) as in the visual realm.
And in a way i don't find the 17th C colour of a painting all that interesting, sure it's dramatic, but there is overall one kind of aproach to the colour. So perhaps there are different useful ways of injecting colour into a seemingly grayscale russian reading.

Actually i didn't provide an exampe of what i was talking about, in sound it is very difficult to describe, but visually i can do it by suggestiong you imagine a black and white photograph, then imagine it with glass over it, and then with a spotlight, and then with the sunlight on that glass. Now imagine a piece of music where you can hear the same changes.
01-11-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 6326
Reply to: 2869
Svetlanov's complete(?) Myaskovsky Symphony set

The rumors are that Warner has bought licenses of all Svetlanov's recordings and they are reissuing them now. So far the Myaskovsky set is available only in Europe

http://www.amazon.fr/Int%C3%A9grale-Symphonies-Nikola%C3%AF-Miaskovsky/dp/B000XCTD5S/ref=sr_1_2/402-9098922-6672134?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1194306386&sr=1-2

The French-speaking people who read my site, does the box above said “complete” Myaskovsky symphony set? Myaskovsky composed 27 symphonies and here we have 16 CDs box set. It might be “it”!!! Happy birthday, David….

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-23-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mats
Chicago
Posts 76
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 10
Post ID: 6971
Reply to: 6326
Is it complete?
So, did anyone find out if this is a complete set?  Looks like it on the Amazon sites. 
And did anyone hear it yet?   US Amazon has it as pre-order and Caymen has it in stock (supposedly),
for $148.00, but on some French sites the price was quite a bit lower.   I can't seem to get past the
language barrier to place an order.

WRT to the Cello Concerto, I have found the Natalie Gutman live with Svetlanov conducting the USSR SO
on Melodiya C10 29937 006 to be quite wonderful.  My thoughts often go to the short stories of Andrei Platonov.

Mats



03-23-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 6975
Reply to: 6971
Not sure
I don't know much about myaskovsky symphony, it looks like they go up to symphony No 27 but there are several missing (like the 2nd, 13, 18, 19, 21 23 if they exist ). It does say Complete Records. I can order and send if people want some help. It'll cost me 72 euros (shipping is free in france) plus shipping to you by paypal I guess? Let me know if that helps?
03-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mats
Chicago
Posts 76
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 12
Post ID: 6986
Reply to: 6975
Thank you!
Thank you Rony for your kind offer.
Can you please email me at
mats(shift2)mgunnars(dot)com
at your convenience.

All the Best,

Mats

PS More Russians for me tonight; Onegin at the Lyric Opera here in Chicago.
    http://www.lyricopera.com/productions.aspx?arrRef=20087
    In April ABT is bringing Sleeping Beauty to the same stage.
03-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 13
Post ID: 6987
Reply to: 6986
Can you record the WFMT's brodcast?

 mats wrote:
More Russians for me tonight; Onegin at the Lyric Opera here in Chicago. ... </A>

Matt,

I love this opera and you local production might be interesting. I see that WFMT is syndicated to my local WHRB-FM but I did not see it in the WHRB programming.

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?postID=4621#4621

So, would you be so kind to record it for me? I would prefers to have the whole things, including the introductions , announcements, follow up and so on…

Rgs, Romy


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mats
Chicago
Posts 76
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 14
Post ID: 6996
Reply to: 6987
Too Late
Sorry Romy, the broadcast was early in March, and I missed it too.
Tonight I am going to the live performance.
I think FMT struggled a bit with the sound this first year.
Did you hear any of the Lyric broadcasts?

I have been playing my Melodia vinyl with Petrova and Vishnevskaya.
Had to attenuate the HF channel quite a bit, but then oh so lovely,
and with a Denon 102, not so noisy actually.  I remember your complaint
about roach legs in the russian vinyl :-)

Take care,

Mats
03-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 15
Post ID: 6998
Reply to: 6996
The Tchaikovsky's woodwinds ...

 mats wrote:
Sorry Romy, the broadcast was early in March, and I missed it too.
Tonight I am going to the live performance. I think FMT struggled a bit with the sound this first year.
Did you hear any of the Lyric broadcasts?

I have been playing my Melodia vinyl with Petrova and Vishnevskaya.
Had to attenuate the HF channel quite a bit, but then oh so lovely,
and with a Denon 102, not so noisy actually.  I remember your complaint
about roach legs in the russian vinyl :-)

Yes, I am getting WFMT  sometime, the new session of the syndication with my local FM station opens up in May and go over the summer. Go figure....

The live performance of Onegin is very good. Attendance of opera might be spotty, depending of the specific production, but it's always a very valuable event. I never miss the local production of Onegin-level opera. You see, there are only two categories of Russian operas – those that were composed on Pushkin's libretto and all other garbage. Onegin is the Pushkin’s opera and for me to hear that poetry in the way how Tchaikovsky arranged is like to get lungs ventilation…

Anyhow, have a good show and watch out those woodwinds and particularly that oboe before and within the letter scene… BTW, it is very important where you sit during Onegin as it should be very RIGHT  balance between voices, flutes, clarinets, French Horns, bassoon and horns… If you hit the right  spot and if the Chicago Lyric will do right job then it might be big thrill.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amphissa
Elsewhere
Posts 14
Joined on 07-17-2006

Post #: 16
Post ID: 7002
Reply to: 6971
And now ... back to Myaskovsky

I have not seen it myself, but I have been told that the French box set does include the complete symphonies (27 in all) plus orchestral poems, sinfoniettas, etc. I think that it does NOT include the violin concerto or the cello concerto. This box set is just the same content that is included in the box sets available from Moscow on Ebay. They are also the same recordings that were included in the Olympia series, which was never completed. To my knowledge, the recordings have not been remastered .

Mats, I agree with you. The recording of the cello concerto by Natalia Gutman with Svetlanov conducting is the best overall performance of this beautiful concerto. It is unfortunate that she never toured in the West. She is relatively unknown outside Russia. But all of the recordings I have heard by her are very good. She is an excellent cellist.
03-24-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 17
Post ID: 7003
Reply to: 7002
Natalia Gutman and the world
 Amphissa wrote:
Mats, I agree with you. The recording of the cello concerto by Natalia Gutman with Svetlanov conducting is the best overall performance of this beautiful concerto. It is unfortunate that she never toured in the West. She is relatively unknown outside Russia. But all of the recordings I have heard by her are very good. She is an excellent cellist.
Actually it is not exactly accurate, David. Natalia Gutman toured very actively. According to her she has twice per month concerts outside of Russia. A month ago she was here in Boston. Interning that where you read her interviews that she so exposed to word that it is hardly feels that she is Russian. I agree – she is an excellent cellist – probably the one of the today’s world one of the greatest cellist.

Rgs, the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-25-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amphissa
Elsewhere
Posts 14
Joined on 07-17-2006

Post #: 18
Post ID: 7004
Reply to: 7003
Ah ...
This is the first time I have heard of her performing in the U.S. I knew that she had occasionally played in Europe, and was involved with some project with Abbado in Berlin. But I thought that she only rarely toured outside Russia. I'm not sure where I got that idea. Obviously I was wrong. She must be in her 60s by now. I would love to see her play before she dies. What did she play in Boston? Shostakovich? Ugh, I hope something better than Shostakovich.
03-25-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
mats
Chicago
Posts 76
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 19
Post ID: 7005
Reply to: 6998
Big Thrill
Thanks to our friend Ann we get to sit about 8 feet behind the conductor in the second row.  The oboe, and the horns maybe even more, were amazingly haunting in the letter scene.  It was of course sung in russian, and the translation was quite satisfying.  They played the final scene with Tatiana really struggling to tear her hands away from Onegin.  Is that how you see it?  I thought she would be more resolute in her decision. 

As always I am amazed how much bass and midrange dominate the sound.  Huge power from the basses and cellos, and of course zero high frequency irritation.  This sound would never make it in Hi-Fi!

Mats
03-25-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 20
Post ID: 7006
Reply to: 7004
Do you think only she does not like US?

Two years back:

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=510910

This year:

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/02/25/a_russian_flair_for_philharmonic/

She is not well promoted (mince hyped) by US labels and US press – well, it is might be why she does not do a lot of US market  – good for her. BTW, she played with Venezuela orchestra last year and I read her very interesting commentaries about her experience working and playing with Venezuela’s kids.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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