Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Meditation; Cello Sonata no. 1; Five Preludes for piano; Cello Sonata no. 2; Dance of the White Girls
Alexander Ivashkin (cello)
Tatyana Larazeva (piano)
Rec 12-14 July 2000, Moscow Conservatory
CHANDOS CHAN 9881 [56.25]
Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Roslavets was much admired by Shostakovich, and this disc, featuring his complete music for cello and piano, confirms that he was a real talent. He was also a composer who pushed back the boundaries of stylistic acceptance, and as a result fell into disfavour when Stalin's policy of Socialist realism attempted to impose conservative quasi-romantic values on new music.

During the 1920s Roslavets was at the cutting edge of the new Soviet music, a leading figure in the new society established by the Bolsheviks, and it was at this time that he composed his two cello sonatas and the Meditation. The appealing Dance of the White Girls is an altogether earlier composition, from 1912, before the Revolution. The Five Preludes for piano solo follow the style of Scriabin, and are impressive in both technique and content.

Scriabin, moreover, informs practically all the music contained here, if only by initial reference; the starting point for later developments. For it was his chromatic style, pushing back the confines of conventional harmonies, that led on to the intensely expressive, almost serial techniques so often favoured by Roslavets. The two sonatas are particularly powerful in their expression, and all credit to Ivashkin and Larazeva for their committed performances, and to the engineers for the excellent quality of the recorded sound. There is a wide range of contrasting musical elements here, not least of dynamics, while the single-movement Meditation offers a more appealing mood, as its title would suggest.

Terry Barfoot

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