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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Sinfonia Concertante K364«
Vladimir Ivanovich TSYTOVICH
Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestraª

Leningrad Chamber Orchestra« Orchestra of Old and Modern Musicª
Victor Liberman (Violin«) Yuri Kramarov (Violaª)
Conducted by Edward Serov
Kontrapunkt 32314 [52.15]

Vladimir Tsytovich (b. 1931) had the misfortune, perhaps, of growing up and entering adulthood at a time in Soviet musical history when the previous generation of composers, particularly Prokofiev and Shostakovich, had already stamped their (differing) approaches to confronting the 'system' and established their world-wide reputations. For younger composers during the nineteen-fifties and sixties opportunities to speak with a fresh voice were far less easy to identify under the dead hand of a slowly dying but stubbornly resistant political regime.

A research student on the staff of the Leningrad Conservatoire specialising in the music of Bartok, Tsytovich composed orthodox concertos for piano, for violin and in 1965, this Viola Concerto. His academic background and the influence of Bartok is plainly to be discerned and the result is more of a thesis than a flowering of musical expression. The first movement is a mixture of Soviet realism intermixed with Bartokian harmonies, the second a rather 'penny in the slot' exercise of adding more instruments one by one and then taking them away again, in like fashion. The finale is a more lyrical but ultimately rather empty version of the style of the first movement. The recording is decent enough and the playing appears committed.

Any lingering interest this CD might still provide is swept away by a performance of the wonderful Sinfonia Concertante of Mozart (for violin, viola and orchestra) of unremitting plainness - the conductor needs to take a great deal of responsibility for this with a severe straightjacket approach to the accompaniment. The recording is considerably worse than the Tsytovich, over-reverberant and, as regards the orchestra, distant.

One has to wonder why the Danish label Kontrapunkt chose to issue these analogue recordings made in 1977. The quality of the accompanying printed information is slipshod - Kontrapunkt claim the recording is DDD and it uses the name 'St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra' on the booklet cover (the city was only renamed in 1991) whilst correctly referring to the Leningrad Chamber Orchestra in the short biography of conductor Edward Serov.

One to avoid.

Simon Foster



If in difficulties getting the disc it can be obtained in the UK direct from Discovery at:

Discovery Records Ltd
phone 01672 563931
fax 01672 563934

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