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Boris TISCHENKO (b. 1939)
Symphony No. 6 for soprano, alto and symphony orchestra op. 105 (1988) [55:11]
Valentina Yuzvenko (soprano); Elena Rubin (alto)
USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra/Gennady Rozhdestvensky
rec. live, Great Hall, Leningrad Philharmonic, 27 April 1989. ADD
St Petersburg Musical Archive
Experience Classicsonline

Tischenko was born in Leningrad and entered music college there in 1954 pursuing studies with Galina Ustvolskaya. His postgraduate work was with Shostakovich. He has written ten symphonies, a Requiem, a wide range of concertos, ten piano sonatas, the opera The Stolen Sun, the ballet Yaroslavna, and the operetta The Giant Cockroach. In recent times he has been at work on a 'choreosymphonic cyclade' entitled Beatrice after Dante's Divine Comedy.

His Fifth Symphony is the Blockade Chronicle Symphony, recorded on Northern Flowers NF/MA 9942. The Sixth is a symphony with voices in the manner of Shostakovich 13 and 14.

The movements of this work are:
1. Sentimental March (Anatoly Naiman)
2. Echo (Anna Akhmatova)
3. I Am (Marina Tsvetaeva)
4. Age-Haunted (Osip Mandelshtam)
5. One Of My Mind (Vladimir Levinzon) 

The first of the five movements lasts more than the other four put together. It is a grand, plungingly histrionic and thunderous statement with a sense of gritty victory won at terrible cost. Soprano Yuzvenko contests with an orchestral canvas that delivers great salvos and groaning protests as well as rich undulant swathes of sound and shimmering tremors. Towards the end of the movement the voice of Elena Rubin can be heard unaccompanied and distant in dialogue with Yuzvenko. There is even a whispered choral section. This is a dazzling movement full of strange landscapes and constant engagement of head and heart. In the last four minutes it all takes surreal and even operatic flight in the hands of orchestra and Yuzvenko. Then come four short movements. The composer has worked with the words of Anna Akhmatova for many years and turns to her again in setting the poem Echo. It is grim and taciturn and - like all of this music - of indomitable strength. The words are nicely differentiated by the alto. Next comes a setting of Marina Svetaeva's I am just your dream bringing us back to the now rested soprano. The poetry is enigmatic but is lit with a subtext of bitter protest which in its crashing outrage recalls Shostakovich. The fourth movement is a setting of Age-haunted by Osip Mandelshtam. This moves with a slower burning flame than its predecessor but it too is grandiloquently scored and scarred by tragedy. The finale sets words by Vladimir Levinzon. Its progress patters and moves forward with a discreet determined lame-legged ostinato. Yet it manages to meld the elements of a waltz as the voices of the two women entwine. The poem suggests precious consolation in the confiding but not quiet words Are you still alive? / I'm still alive .... Are you still here .... I am. 

This disc preserves a concert performance of extraordinary intensity undiminished by the occasional noises associated with a populated concert hall. 

The liner-notes are admirable. Equally pleasing is the fact that the words are printed in Russian (Cyrillic) and English translation. 

I hope that there will be much more Tischenko from Northern Flowers.

Rob Barnett




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