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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



CD REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

alternatively
Crotchet

 

Victoria BORISOVA–OLLAS (b.1969)

Wings of the Wind (1997) [8:55]

Symphony No.1, The Triumph of Heaven (2001) [28:39]

Roosters in Love (1999) [11:47]

Im Klosterhofe (1999) [11:12]

Silent Island (2000) [1:42]

Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Mats Rondin (Wings of the Wind and Symphony); Rascher Saxophone Quartet (Roosters in Love); Pia Segerstam (cello) and Christophe Sirodeau (piano) (Im Klosterhofe); Eva Sidén (piano) (Silent Island)

rec. 13 – 14 June 2007 and 8 – 10 January 2008 Louis de Geer Hall, Norrköping (Wings of the Wind and Symphony); 13 – 14 October 2006 Studio M2, Yleisradio, Helsinki (Roosters in Love); 8 June 1999, Church Saint – Marcel, Paris, France (Im Klosterhofe); 20 September 2007, studio 2, Radiohuset, Stockholm (Silent Island) DDD
PHONO SUECIA PSCD171 [62:19] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


Born in Vladivostock, where she started piano lessons with her mother when she was six years old, Borisova–Ollas studied at the Central Music School in Moscow and the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. Subsequently, she attended the Royal College of Music in London, as an exchange student, and also at the Malmö and Stockholm Colleges of Music. She settled in Sweden in 1992.
 

In the UK she is probably best known for two works. In 1998 she won second prize in the first Masterprize competition with Wings of the Wind, and more recently, her opera–cum–theatre piece The Ground Beneath Her Feet (based on a novel by Salman Rushdie) was given in Manchester in June 2007, and subsequently in Stockholm in May 2008, when Swedish Radio broadcast it live. 

Her language is easy to assimilate but she expects you to do some work whilst listening for she likes a thick texture and isn’t afraid to go for the big gesture, which she can bring off with ease. Wings of the Wind is a fine example of this. Starting with a whispered idea for winds the music builds to a short–lived climax. After this, the forward momentum really gets going. Another climax, with drums to the fore, gives way to a richly scored, more relaxed, section, with bells, then it’s all over. This piece has big intentions and Borisova–Ollas carries out her aim with a style and verve not often experienced in recent orchestral music. 

The Symphony is equally serious, and just as approachable. The first movement begins with an haunting and mysterious slow introduction before bursting forth in a wild allegro. Borisova–Ollas calls this work her most Russian and certainly there’s a feeling of the vast reaches of the Steppes and the cold, cold, winters, but I can also feel the Swedish influence – Blomdahl and Rosenberg especially. But this is Borisova–Ollas’s own music. It’s a thrilling ride which never loses its forward impetus. A quiet, and disturbing coda leaves us wondering. The middle movement is very disturbing, knockings from lower strings and percussion, tremolandi from high strings, a climax shatters the stasis with shattering intensity then it’s gone; like so much in this movement, it’s elusive, decided but yet indecisive. With bells to the fore the finale rushes away like a thing possessed! The cold, wide–open spaces are once again to the fore and as we rush through this barren landscape the music becomes more agitated – think of Nightride and Sunrise with real attitude. The final climax, when it comes, is overpowering in its might. This is a major symphonic achievement and shouldn’t be missed on any account. 

Mats Rondin and the Norrköping Orchestra throw themselves into these two scores with a power and understanding which give us a fabulous view of the way a contemporary composer can really use the orchestra. 

16 seconds of magical silence separate this sonic onslaught from what comes next. Roosters in Love is a marvelous joke of a piece. If this is what farmers have to put up with during the mating season then they must never stop laughing! It’s a kind of lop–sided dance with lamentations. 

Im Klosterhofe is quite different. It’s a very difficult piece to grasp, elusive and musically many–layered, but very dark and very sparse. This is quite different from what we have heard before but persevere with it. There’s quite a lot there. Silent Island is so short that there’s almost nothing there! It makes a relaxed epilogue to the high drama which has gone before.

This disk must not be missed by anyone for the music is of the very highest order and the significance of this exciting composer cannot be understated.

Bob Briggs

 


 


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