B Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1; The Murmuring Forest; After the Ball

COMPOSERS: B Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: B Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; The Murmuring Forest; After the Ball
PERFORMER: Lolita Angert (piano); Volgograd Philharmonic Orchestra/Edward Serov; Saratov Conservatory SO/Kirill Ershov
CATALOGUE NO: 8.570195
The worthwhile rediscovery of Boris Tchaikovsky (1925-1996), sponsored by his eponymous society, yields another release, this time of performances taking us back to his compositional roots in the late 1940s and early ’50s. A pupil of Shostakovich, Shebalin and Myaskovsky, he had the bad luck to produce his First Symphony on the eve of the 1948 show trials against ‘formalism’ in music; tarred with the same brush as his masters, Tchaikovsky’s symphony rested unperformed until 1962. Its outer movements begin and end innocuously enough with a subtle use of tonality, only to build to embattled but never muddy climaxes which would have raised an official eyebrow or two in 1948. Edward Serov draws clean lines and purposeful playing from the Volgograd Philharmonic Orchestra; apart from the odd fluff in a solo or two, the presentation defines a strong musical personality.

Advertisement

The rest is mere professionalism given slightly less distinguished treatment from another Russian team, music to two radio plays

Advertisement

with pastiche ruralism (for Vladimir Korolenko’s novel about a wicked landowner and his henchman who get their comeuppance) and the meeting of waltz, mazurka and military march for Tolstoy’s tale of a love that ends in disillusionment. The composer would probably have been quite indifferent to their resurrection here. David Nice