> IVANOVS Orchestral Vol 6 Campion CAMEO2013 [RB]: Classical Reviews- April2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Janis IVANOVS (1906-83)
Orchestral Music - Vol. 6 (1955-57)

Suite from the film music for The Late Frost in Spring* (1955) [18.57]
Symphony No. 8 ** (1956) [33.24]
Lacplessis - symphonic poem*** (1957?) [14:12]
Latvian National SO conducted by Imants Resnis * Edgars Tons ** Vassily Sinaisky***
All recordings from sound archive of Latvijas Radio Recorded: * 1987; ** 1961 *** 1978
CAMPION CAMEO 2013 [66.37] mid-price series

The 1955 film The Late Frost in Spring was an adaptation of a novel on a rustic drama. The novel was by one of Ivanovs' favourite authors, Rudolfs Blaumanis (1863-1908). The music commissioned was to be in short sections the longest of which is 5.40 (Matisins). The notes tell us that the themes are drawn from Ivanovs 'lost' Second Symphony. It was lost when the film was first released. When the Symphony resurfaced 1985 Latvian audiences attending the concert revival found themselves already familiar with the symphony's themes from the film music. The music is pastoral tragic (listen to the chaste and lonely flute at 5.01 in track 7), highly romantic, slightly cool (as befits the title) having parallels with Rota's Romeo and Juliet as well as Prokofiev's ballet, on the one hand and Richard Rodney Bennett's Far From the Madding Crowd on the other. The great yearning theme has something in common with the Finn, Levi Madetoja's Second Symphony. The suite is in nine movements though the booklet claims ten. This is instantly attractive music. Classic fm (and similar stations) really should give this some air-time. It is only inertia that keeps them from playing this atmospheric music.

The Eighth Symphony, alternates two 11 minute andantes with two much briefer (3.30 and 6.30) allegros. Its big Andante Allegro first movement has some of the lolling tunefulness of the Violin Concerto but the dark skies are already beginning to crowd in heavy with pessimism (4.14). The first Allegro flies hither and yon like the warring Montagues and Capulets. The angry energy of the balletic Prokofiev is never far away in this music; the final allegro likewise. Here however the energy is much more light-hearted - almost celebratory (at times rather like the faster sections of Moeran's neo-classical Serenade but with more emotional 'juice') and fury is held at bay.

Lacplesis is a tone poem written at the same time as the Eighth Symphony well after the heyday of the genre. It is based on a folk legend in which Lacplesis is the freedom fighter. Other characters in the tale are each allocated a theme and the themes interact and develop. The music is great-hearted and wide-spanning, still romantic and with much in common with the Piano Concerto (vol. 7). The notes quote the commentary of musicologist Vizbulite Berzin who remarks, no doubt from the perspective of devout Soviet exegesis, that in this work mere landscape pictorialism was left behind and in its place the heroic struggle for freedom takes the stage. Certainly the work radiates that feeling but without resorting to gaudy street-poster emotions.

A further instalment of Ivanovs' powerfully austere lyricism. Your handle on Twentieth Century symphonism will be incomplete without this series.

Sound quality: variable but no serious obstacle to communication. Notes: thorough (allowing for typos)and bilingual (English/German).

Rob Barnett





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

Issued 1998
3 1939-41 Symphony No. 4; Rainbow Review

To be issued

Early and very fluid details are as follows:-
1945 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 Review - other version to be deleted)
1954 Symphony No 7 33' 47" 65' 07"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
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 DIMus@aol.com

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