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CD: Crotchet


Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996)
Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Cello (1962) [29:18]
The Last Spring - vocal cycle for mezzo, flute, clarinet and piano (1980) [18:34]
Boris Tchaikovsky (piano); Prokofiev Quartet; Natalia Burnasheva (mezzo); Sergey Bubnov (flute); Alexander Ivanov (clarinet).
rec. 1978, 1985, Moscow. ADD
REGIS FORUM FRC9111 [66:36]
Experience Classicsonline

The epic Boris Tchaikovsky Piano Quintet is iconic among his works. This recording carries enormous authority, being played by the composer. The Prokofiev Quartet was the dedicatee and pioneer of his last four string quartets. The Quintet itself was premiered by the composer and the Borodins in 1963. Tchaikovsky's credentials were impeccable - the pupil of Miaskovsky, Shostakovich and Shebalin. One can hear the shiver of a Shostakovich moderato at 9:20 in the long and metronomically remorseless first movement. In it a sadness weighs down upon the listener. The Allegro-Largo is four-square at first and then becomes more animated although still angular. Sometimes the piano-writing recalls Shostakovich's second piano concerto. Desperation ranges wild-eyed through the Allegro. A bitter funereal ceremony hangs over the final Adagio which ends in a shimmer that arcs and glistens high in the register.
From eighteen years later comes the song-cycle The Last Spring. The songs are most unusual - at least for 1980. We start with the strikingly Delian A Joyful Mood which also has the rounded perfection of a Rachmaninov romance. Spring Movements plays out in aspirational poetry against a hyper-Mozartian accompaniment. The Sun is Up and Autumn are more like those hood-eyed sensuous Chausson or Duparc songs - though the latter drifts towards a grand ballad. Green Beam is cheery and jaunty - rather like an outgoing Warlock songs. September is taut and military in its piano accompaniment – redolent of a Shostakovich-Mussorgsky song-cycle orchestration.  Snowy melancholy resonating through the instrumental accompaniment afflicts the final song - Who Responded to Me. This closes a most lyrical and gratefully written  cycle that stands in the grand traditions of both Schubert and Rachmaninov. 
Burnasheva is extremely intense with little wobble in her voice. The full texts are printed in a legibly-sized font but only in English translation. The songs are sung in Russian.
These analogue recordings hold up very well indeed in the expert hands of Ilya Dontsov and Regis although you will notice some hiss in the songs. 
Boris Tchaikovsky's heritage is admirably supported  by the Trust that bears his name. He wrote many songs, four symphonies, four concertos as well as music for cinema and radio. The notes for this issue are by the well thought of Petr Klimov whose name adorns so many of the Boris Tchaikovsky issues of the last decade.
Rob Barnett

see also the index of all Boris Tchaikovsky reviews on Musicweb International



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