Boris Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto; Signs of the Zodiac; Clarinet Concerto

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COMPOSERS: Boris Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Boris Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Piano Concerto; Signs of the Zodiac; Clarinet Concerto
PERFORMER: Olga Solovieva (piano, harpsichord), Anton Preschepa (clarinet), Yana Ivanilova (soprano); Russian Academy of Music CO/Timur Mynbaev
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557727
Thanks to the lively efforts of the Moscow-based Boris Tchaikovsky Society, we are building up a rounded picture of this important figure in Soviet music (no relation to Pyotr Ilyich). New to CD is the Piano Concerto of 1971, an arresting way in to the composer’s unpredictable musical language with its hammering toccata and the synthetic melodies of its second movement. Olga Solovieva, who has already recorded Boris Tchaikovsky’s solo piano music, keeps the work’s more aggressive side focused and clean. Anton Prischepa is a mellow soloist in the lyric interlude offered by the Clarinet Concerto – not quite as simple as it seems when trumpets join the outer movements.

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The best comes last with Signs of the Zodiac, highly sensitive treatments of four great Russian poems moving from idiosyncratic thoughts on death and burial to a childlike dreamscape. Soprano Yanna Ivanilova is lighter and clearer than Margarita Miroshnikova in a distinguished disc conducted by Edward Serov (Northern Flowers), even if she falls shorter of the climactic intensity in the central setting of Marina Tsvetaeva. Strings sound undernourished in the first two works, rather unnaturally lit in the cantata; but the drive and integrity of the performances are never in doubt. David Nice