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Alla PAVLOVA (b. 1952)
Symphony No. 6 (2007) [41:39]
Thumbelina Suite (2008) [23:41] (I. Introduction (The theme of Thumbelina’s wanderings) [4:23]; II. Waltz – Mirage [5:04]; III. Tango [3:26]; IV. Sad Song [3:44]; V. The meeting with the Prince [7:04])
Mikhail Shestakov (violin)
Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra/Patrick Baton
rec. Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company KULTURA, Moscow, 10-14 June 2008
recorded with generous sponsorship from Mind for Health
NAXOS.8.579003 [65:20]

Experience Classicsonline

Alla Pavlova has been fortunate to be among the Naxos regulars. She and Naxos already have to their name four CDs of her orchestral music. These include the first five numbered symphonies and the ballet Sulamith:

Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 Naxos 8.557157

Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4 Naxos 8.557566

Symphony No. 5; Elegy Naxos 8.570369

Monolog; The Old New York Nostalgia; Sulamith - Suite Naxos 8.557674

Now we hear the Sixth a rhapsodic work of saturated melodic absorption. Her inclinations involve a mix of Tchaikovskian method and Glass style minimalism. This is not at all difficult music and some may perhaps find it almost too ‘easy’. The violin adds its melodic honeyed emphasis to the languishing yet motile line. The second movement has a Rachmaninovian succulence built for the long haul. It is all somewhat cinematic but none the worse for that. The third movement also has a Tchaikovskian balletic haste. This big symphony breathes the sweetness and the delicious sadness of a fragrant summer night.

The symphony is dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh and his The Starry Night is the specification inspiration of the piece. The painting appears on the CD booklet.

One might think of George Lloyd as another composer who wrote in an idiom related so closely to those of earlier generations. In the case of Pavlova there is a compelling forward momentum not always felt with Lloyd outside the symphonies 4-8. Something of Pavlova's grandeur can be felt in the third movement at 3:22. Is she varied enough, I wonder. Whatever doubts are constantly stilled be each iteration of an idea knocks that at the heart to be admitted.

In the suite from Thumbelina (based on the H C Andersen fairy-tale) the Introduction is typically insistent. The tendency towards sentimentality is stronger here though never tipping over into the mawkish; it’s a close call in the Waltz-Mirage. Even the stately Tango is heavy with Tchaikovsky’s damask. The sweetly intimate Sad Song is magical complete with vibraphone and piano; a touch of Rodrigo about it. The longest movement is the finale: The Meeting with the Prince. This is built around a tender melody with some of the qualities of a John Barry classic blended with genetic material from the Philip Glass symphonies.

The package is complete with liner-notes by the composer.

Rob Barnett



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