Pizzicato

The music by Russian composer Vyacheslav Artyomov (born 1940) can be outlined (outside of regular style categories) by the corner points ‘archaic’, ‘Christian’ and ‘Eastern Meditation’. This in combination with Russian folk music creates his own style, which he describes as ‘eternal’.

In 1975 Artyomov, together with the composers Wiktor Suslin and Sofia Gubaidulina, founded the improvisation ensemble ‘Astreja’, which improvised on folk instruments in order to get inspiration for their compositions.

This CD combines two large format pieces, first the Symphony ‘Gentle Emanation’ which is the third part of the symphonic Tetralogy ‘Symphony of the Way’, and the other ‘Tristia II’ for piano, orchestra and narrator.

Symphony ‘Gentle Emanation, with 28 continuous segments and over 40 minutes in duration, is based on one section in the book of Job, in which Job awaits God. With Currentzis the piece is interpreted by a conductor who sees Artyomov as the 21st century’s Bruckner. Correspondingly he develops the piece with intensity and effectiveness for its whole duration.

‘Tristia II’, which is conducted by Vladimir Ponkin, was originally a piano concerto, which has been amended by the addition of a narrator who appears for extended periods at the beginning and again at the end accompanied by a calm orchestral sound-carpet. The number of works with narrator is limited, as a concerto probably unique. The emphasis of this composition however, is on the piano part, which blends naturally in the orchestral movement. The texts are prayers for God’s support of future tasks; the music is inspired by religious motives.

The Russian national orchestra is an established, successful body which devotes itself expertly to Artyomov’s work. With Ponkin and even more so with Currentzis they found conductors, who are able to shape the large forms and create tension which persists. Pianist Kopachevsky mastered the piano part with excellence. The role of narrator played by Russian actor Philippov is intense, but still appears as an accessory.
(Awarded 5 stars)

—Uwe Krusch