Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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JANIS IVANOVS 1906-83 Orchestral Music - Vol. 2 - 1938 Symphony No. 3 (1938) * [29:56] Cello Concerto (1938) ** [19:13]   The Cloudy Mountain - Symphonic Poem (1938) *** [9:03]   * ** Latvian National SO, Latvian National Opera Orchestra, ** Mâris Villerušs (cello), conducted by Leonids Vigner ** ***; ImantsResnis * All recordings from sound archive of Latvijas Radio Recorded: * 1982; ** 1981 *** 1978 CAMEO 2009 [58.35] mid price series



There should be a great deal more fuss and celebration of these (and previous) Ivanovs discs than, to date, there has been.

He is an Estonian late romantic with an idiom closer to early Tubin with elements of 19th century first wave nordic romanticism (Sibelius, Glazunov, Atterberg).

This is not forbidding music. It welcomes anyone who has any sympathy with twentieth and nineteenth century romanticism. If you like Tchaikovsky you will warm to Ivanovs' (the apostrophe IS in the right place!) orchestral music.

The Third has been recorded twice before: once on Melodiya LP and latterly on a Marco Polo CD with No. 2. The Marco Polo suffered from rather disengaged performances though there were many things to enjoy. I always suspected that there was more to tell.

The adagio - allegro moderato, in this account, has oodles of slavonic horn tone and hints of Miaskovsky (your next project the complete Miaskovsky symphonies please Campion!) but more vigorous than the often reflective Russian. The mood is Byronic and Dante-esque: Manfred and Francesca. There is a quick march and 'tramp tramp' impatience at 1.40. Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances are also pre-echoed (2.40) with a certain free-floating romance at 7.30 and onwards. Balakirev's exoticism is also part of the palette. There is little trace of the atlantian mystical impressionism of symphony No. 4.

The second movement - andante offers courtly music and a restrained dignified romance familiar from his remarkable violin concerto. There are some hints of Prokofiev without the tartness of the Russian composer. At 7.30 Baxian Spring Fire atmospherics are another reference.

The scurrying allegro is operatically absurd but settles at 00.46 into screeching birdcall evocations, tocsins and wild alarum (also at 3.39). The finale is Tchaikovskian and balletic with links to Tchaikovsky's 5th.

The cello concerto is a 'pocket concerto' playing less than 20 minutes long and comparable in scale to the Korngold Deception concerto. The first movement opens jauntily and for all the world as if Ivanovs had heard the E J Moeran symphony in G minor. The cello's song gloats rhapsodically self-absorbed in Delian sunlit grandeur. The middle movement is a darkling song like Rubbra's Invocation rising to a climax of hoarse and (strangely) Hispanic passion. The finale is active and dynamic.

The brief Cloudy Mountain is heard in a rather hissy but intensely atmospheric recording. It starts amidst Firebird-like gurgles and squeaks at start. Congratulations to Campion for their courage in using this tape with the minimum reprocessing. It makes the most of its analogue immediacy and depth and Vigner is excellent! The dynamics are wide-ranging although a crudeness enters when the volume is high (e.g. 3.30). In truth the tape sounds older than 1978 but this is a triumphantly communicative aural event.

Notes are good. 20pp booklet: English, German, French.

The series is recognisable by the cover-featured outline of the Riga city skyline.

Do not miss.


Rob Barnett

You may see earlier Ivanovs reviews here


12 volumes

Issued May 1999

1 1933-36 Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2; Latgalian Landscapes review

2 1938 Symphony No. 3; The Cloudy Mountain; Cello Concerto  review

3 1939-41 Symphony No. 4; Rainbow

To be issued Autumn 1999

4 1945-49 Symphony No 5 43' 12"  1949 Symphony No. 6 33' 45" 76.57

5 1951 Violin Concerto 31' 20" (same version as already released separately - other version to be deleted) 1954 Symphony No 7 33' 47" 20 07"

6 1955 Frost In Spring 20' 10" 1956 Symphony No 8 32' 47" 1957 Lacplesis 14'11" [67' 08"]

6 more volumes to come

7 1959 Piano Concerto 25' 57" 1963 Andante 7' 34" 1963 Symphony No 10 31' 59" 65'30"

8 1965 Symphony No 11 32' 55" 1966 Poema Luttuosa 12' 36" 1967 Symphony No 12 24' 08" 69'39"

9 1969 Symphony No 13 33' 13"???? Festival Overture 3' 57"1971 Symphony No 14 21' 44" 58' 54"

10 1972 Symphony No 15 30' 19"1974 Symphony No 16 30' 34" 60' 53"

11 1976 Symphony No 17 31' 40"1977 Symphony No 18 33' 08" 64' 48"

12 1979 Symphony No 19 38' 27" 1981 Symphony No 20 26' 41" 64' 08"


1983 Symphony No 21 (completed by ??) 23'13"

1940* The Solemn Prelude 4' 32"

(*already out of order)

Date unknown Symphonietta 11'53"

Possible new recording by now of 9th Symphony 32' 00" approx.

TOTAL 74'00" or less

Violin Concerto already available differently coupled with Sibelius and Sallinen concertos on a Campion disc

Orders and enquiries can be made to


Rob Barnett

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