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Yury KUNETS (b. 1957)
Wrocław Score Orchestra/Lee Holdridge
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, Sinfonia Varsovia/Lee Holdridge
rec. September 2011, Warsaw, Studio S2 (Polish Radio) Wrocław, Wrocław Radio Concert Hall
SOLO MUSICA SM259 [60:38]

Russian composer, musician and producer Yury Anatolyevitch Kunets has his origins in popular music. The worlds of film, jazz and pop music have been amongst his happy hunting grounds. He composed songs for the Russian “Impulse Five” band in the 1980s. Later there were to be musical projects for television and two musical films: Blame it all on the Beatles and Don’t Shoot The Musicians.

The present disc is a venture into symphonic music and not his first. There was another disc - which I have not heard - called “Renaissance”. Dating from 2011, it was made, like part of this one, in Kraków with the Wrocław Score Orchestra. Again, like this one, the American conductor Lee Holdridge not only directed the orchestra but also collaborated with Kunets as the arranger. Their partnership dated back to Kunets' work with Holdridge in Robert Irving’s Los Angeles studios. Holdridge is no stranger to the commercial world which for him includes plenty of film music and a John Denver disc as well as at least one classical collection (Varčse-Sarabande) with the LSO in which Holdridge's Violin Concerto No. 2 was played by Glenn Dicterow. Also common to the two discs is the work of British recording producer Christopher Alder.

The present sixteen atmosphere miniatures are orchestral and at times include a fore-grounded piano, for example on Night City, Autumn, Romance and Elegy. The music is commercial soft-focus though with a nicely contrived classical balance rather than anything with an artificial pop-studio glare. The effect throughout is light, sweet and filmic. There's nothing here that is Shostakovich-caustic, intensely mystical, challengingly traumatic or with lesions from serrated edges. It will not give offence and offers undemanding charms and quite a large helping of resistance-free misty melancholy. Try P.S Afterwards, which is a very polished exercise in 1940s Hollywood lachrymose; a tender enough piece, though. A smoochy-smooth choir is added for Taisia - amongst the longest tracks at 5:17 - along with that ever-smiling quasi-Clayderman piano. The choir is also meltingly notable in My Origin.

Kunets tells us that this music "itself exhibits a very lyrical character, through which I was trying to convey my own understanding of life and my state of mind. It’s the result, so to speak, of my philosophical reflections, little stories about our being surrounded by nature, which is intimately connected in turn with our own emotional lives…"

There is no booklet. Instead brief background notes and discographical minutiae are given on the card folder.

Rob Barnett

1 Autumn 3:19
2 Romance 3:34
3 Fairy Lake 2:46
4 Waltz 4:05
5 Alster 4:00
6 March 2:42
7 Thoughts 3:31
8 Requiem 5:28
9 P. S. Afterwards 3:34
10 Triumph 2:38
11 Elegy 3:47
12 Taisia 5:20
13 Dance 3:03
14 My Origin 3:57
15 Nature 5:07
16 Night City 3:47



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