Silvestrov, PŠrt, Ustvolskaya

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COMPOSERS: Part,Silvestrov,Ustvolskaya
LABELS: ECM Records
ALBUM TITLE: Silvestrov, Pärt, Ustvolskaya
WORKS: Post Scriptum Sonata for Violin and Piano; Misterioso
PERFORMER: Kirill Rybakov (clarinet, piano), Alexander Trostiansky (violin), Alexei Lubimov (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 476 3108
Commissioned for the bicentenary

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of Mozart’s death, Silvestrov’s

1991 Post-Scriptum is the ghost of

a Classical violin sonata, familiar

melodic gestures dissolving into

uneasily rocking ostinatos, cadences

interrupted and frozen in palsied

stasis, signifiers of nostalgia and

regret. It makes a fitting start to this

well-filled CD.

By contrast, Silvestrov’s recent

Misterioso, written for the clarinettist

and pianist Evgeny Orkin, performed

here by Kirill Rybakov, has a bracing

solidity, bold in its dissonance

and expressionistic gestures – an

important addition to the clarinet

repertoire. A new clarinet version of

Pärt’s well-known Spiegel im Spiegel

acts as an exquisite, unworldly

demarcation between Silvestrov and

two of Ustvolskaya’s early chamber

works. Her 1949 Clarinet Trio is

already defiantly odd in its bare

textures, its snatches of ostinato,

its refusal of all rhetoric, as though

Minimalism were struggling to be

born before its time. Much the same

is true, with greater intensity, of the

single-movement Violin Sonata; the

coda, with its dolorous knocking on

the wood of the piano, anticipates the

woodblock tattoos of Ustvolskaya’s

later symphonies.

These are all magnificent

performances, as one might expect

from these three musicians, who

regularly perform together as a trio,

and their sound is superbly and rawly

caught by ECM’s recording. Their

marvellously hieratic account of

Ustvolskaya’s Trio is clearly superior

to the more superficial reading by

The Barton Workshop (on Etcetera).

Trostiansky and Lyubimov come up

against stiff competition in Gidon

Kremer’s mesmerizing account of

Silvestrov’s Post Scriptum, albeit this –

due for reissue on Apex early next year

– is now only available as a download

from www.warnerclassics.com. So as

an anthology of key works in late- and

post-Soviet chamber music this new

disc is eminently recommendable.

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Calum MacDonald