Pavlova was born in Russian but has lived in New York
since 1990. Her music has been taken up by Naxos as we can see
from: Symphonies 1 and 3, 8.557157; Symphonies 2 and 4, 8.557566;
Her music has a directly appealing melodic melancholia. Crude parallels
would take in the Tchaikovsky of the Pathétique,
the lyric Prokofiev rather than the flâneur-sardonic
and the adagio of Rachmaninov's Second
Symphony. Pavlova must have
been delighted with Ziva's performance
which has a fluent sense of forward movement in equipoise with
a confidently weighted melancholia. The mot juste
between static and dynamic is very evident in the first
two movements. This is plangent music - romantic and graceful
without being tame or carrying any of the desiccation of neo-classicism.
There is something piercingly affecting about this writing.
Much of it has a steadiness about it but urgent forward momentum
can be heard in the outer movements of this five
movement symphony. The sound signature of what is an expansive
work carries a strong emphasis on the massed strings. The only
brass are the horns. The percussion ranks are also slimmed down.
The composer points out in the liner notes that the symphony has a spiritual
programme - which takes the listener from personal feelings
about Life, to an escape via meditation into the micro-world
of the lotus flower, the disturbances of the real world, the
realisation that the journey of life is also its Goal. Such
programmatic background is interesting but the symphony stands
on its atmosphere and emotional gravitas.
The brief Elegy has been recorded before on Albany. The music again has Pavlova's
trademark breathing plangency and
subtly regretful air. It has the air of Rachmaninov
sumptuously blended with the music for Love Story and
Dr Zhivago. It was written
for the film The American
It is a pleasure to report that Pavlova’s instinct
and compulsion to compose remain as strong as ever and just
as potently distinctive.
also Review by Dan Morgan