Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 (Sebastopol)

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COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Chandos Historical
ALBUM TITLE: Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Symphony No. 3 (Sebastopol)
PERFORMER: Moscow RSO/Vladimir Fedoseyev
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10299 H
This is relatively recent history in Chandos’s selective trawl through Russian archives. Boris Tchaikovsky (1925-1996 – no relation to Pyotr Ilyich) last featured on CD in an interesting Hyperion compendium, reviewed last September, of his early and middle-period style, still sometimes under the shadow of his teacher Shostakovich. This disc concentrates on late works of the 1980s championed by Vladimir Fedoseyev, and what an intriguing identity Tchaikovsky has forged for himself here!

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Sebastopol Symphony (1980) and Music for Orchestra (1987) move forward through selective and haunting changes of orchestral timbre and spare, often memorable melodic lines, hinting at familiar symphonic rhetoric but never settling on it for long. I’m reminded more of late Martin? than any Russian models in the free-flowing, beautifully scored string laments, and there’s even an intriguing hint of rainbow-coloured later minimalism as the Symphony becomes locomotive.

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His symphonic poem The Wind of Siberia (1984) begins as a more predictable threnody, but is touched by a rare state of grace towards its conclusion. Everything has a strong inner logic, seems sincerely motivated and is lovingly presented by Fedoseyev’s Moscow orchestra in panoramic (Melodiya?) sound that only baulks at the few brassier climaxes. Chandos might also bear in mind, incidentally, that some crucial opera recordings remain to be unearthed from the Fedoseyev/Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra archive. David Nice