One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS



Alla PAVLOVA (b. 1952)
Symphony No.5 (2006) [47:23] (1.Adagio-Vivace [9:57]; 2.Adagio [7:44]; 3 Adagio-Vivace [12:55]; 4.Largo [9:55]; 5. Vivace [6:52])
Elegy for Piano and String Orchestra (1988)* [4:41]
Mikhail Shestakov (violin)
Andrei Korobeinikov (piano)*,
Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Ziva
rec. Studio 5 of the Russian State TV & Radio Company Kultura, Moscow, 18-21 June 2006.
NAXOS 8.570369 [52:04]


Unlike her other symphonies Alla Pavlova’s latest symphony (her fifth) is lighter and scored principally for strings with much less percussion and little brass. However, like her symphonies 2 and 4, which I reviewed in 2003, it is an extremely emotionally-charged piece, full of longing and sadness. The composer’s notes state that the first movement expresses her feelings about life. I would say that the entire symphony does this. It has very close parallels to her First Symphony which expresses Pavlova’s sadness at discovering, on a return visit to Russia after several years in the USA, that the Russia in which she had grown up no longer existed; the old certainties were gone and the future looked full of anxiety brought on by uncertainty.

Against this background a feeling of nostalgia is perfectly understandable but I fear it is holding back her development as a composer. This nostalgia appears to be a motive force that prevents her from drawing on other influences to inspire her compositions. She has undoubted talent and the fact that she writes in a romantic way is no bad thing – for me at least. However I feel that the music fails to get anywhere beyond a statement – or, in this case a restatement - of her feelings already expressed in her first symphony.

As I pointed out in an earlier review in relation to her third symphony the Fifth has a filmic sound and sweep and its themes have more than a passing resemblance to themes found in Maurice Jarre’s music for Dr Zhivago. The music is pleasant despite its sad overtones but what is lacking is a development which contrasts those feelings with some other more powerful themes and a feeling of resolution at the end. Perhaps after writing five symphonies it is time for her to take stock and see a way beyond the past. I find her music sumptuous and emotionally rewarding and I hope she continues to write - she will of course - composers are driven fortunately for us all - but that she finds new musical furrows to plough.

The short Elegy for Piano and Orchestra again is an emotional piece depicting a tragic love story in which Michael Healy defied the Georgia State Laws by marrying his black slave. It was composed for the main theme of the 1998 film “The American Healys”. As stated above Pavlova writes music that describes tragedy well and the fact that it was written for a film serves to underscore my point about the filmic character of her writing.

The orchestra (the renamed Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra) and soloists serve Pavlova’s music well with a reading that captures her feelings in a highly accurate and flowing way. 

Steve Arloff

see also Reviews by Rob Barnett and Dan Morgan




Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.