> Vyacheslav GROKHOVSKY [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Nov 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Vyacheslav GROKHOVSKY (b.1945)
Russian Caprice for piano and orchestra [11.29]
The Enchanted Wanderer - symphonic poem [18.32]
Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales - suite for piano and orchestra [23.51]
Gypsy Rhapsody for violin and orchestra [8.42]
Valery Grokhovsky (piano)
Vladimir Ivanov (violin)
Moscow Radio SO/Vyacheslav Grokhovsky
rec Moscow Radio Recording Studios, 1996 DDD
CAMPION CAMEO 2016 [62.41]


+44 (0)161 491 6655

Well done to Campion and DI Music for picking up these tapes. These works are by a Muscovite who studied with Khachaturian. The music travels the well-worn tracks left by Rimsky-Korsakov and the colouristic Slav nationalists. These are entertainments without toil and profundity as one would expect from a composer of thirteen operettas and musicals and two ballets.

Remember all those novella style cinematographic piano concertos of which the Warsaw Concerto is the best known? Well Russian Caprice slips very neatly into that company. It is not a work of any great depth. Its aim is surely to entertain - and that it does. It is brilliant and echoes with sentimental Gershwin references and Prokofiev's keyboard glitter. The Enchanted Wanderer is unerringly Tchaikovskian with its melodic apparatus derived from the Fifth Symphony. The 'Wanderer' of the title is an illiterate sage (based on the eponymous novel by Nikolai Leskov (1831-1895)) who drifts through Russia from town to city to hamlet. The Andersen Fairy Tales return the listener to the gawky quirky piano solo writing of Prokofiev (Love of Three Oranges), cheerful 'toy soldier' absurdity, Nutcracker romance and, in the Thumbelina movement, sable-toned fantasy. This is a 'piano concerto' trilogy with each panel related to a famous Andersen fairytale: 1. The Steadfast Tin Soldier; 2. Thumbelina; 3. The Emperor's New Clothes. The Gypsy Rhapsody would make a seamless pendant to a mixed recital with the Paganini and Wieniawski concertos, Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen, Saint-Saëns' Caprice Andalou and Waxman's Carmen Fantasy. It is flashy, opulently romantic and showy. Ivanov and conspirators sell it for all its worth.

If you hanker for a rather commercial equivalent of a Malcolm Arnold with a Russian nationalist accent, someone who knows his way around the virtuosic fancies of Rimsky, Balakirev and Prokofiev, look no further.

Rob Barnett

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