MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
57,616reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

 

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 







Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews

Love-violin-NI6428
Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library

 

 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983)
Piano Concerto (1959) [26:03]
Symphony No. 14 Sinfonia da Camera (1971) [21:52]*
Symphony No. 20 (1981) [26:56]
Igor Zhukov (piano)
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Vassily Sinaisky
Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra/Tovijs Lifšics*
rec. Latvian Radio, 1971-82
SKANI LMIC035 [74:51]

Janis Ivanovs holds the distinction of being the most significant and prolific Latvian symphonist of the second half of the 20th century, with twenty-one symphonies to his name (Symphony No. 21 remained unfinished at his death and was completed and orchestrated by Juris Karlsons). When the First World War broke out his family fled to Russia, returning when hostilities ended. In 1924 he enrolled at the newly established Latvian Conservatory, studying conducting with Georg Schnéevoigt and composition with Jāzeps Vītols. He himself was a professor of composition there from 1944 until his death in 1983. He also worked as a sound engineer in the 1930s, and for many years was artistic director of Latvian Radio.

The Piano Concerto is one of three concertos the composer wrote, the other two being for cello and violin. It dates from 1959, so is the earliest of the works on the disc.  It stands on the threshold of a new radical direction that Ivanovs’ music was to take in the 1960s. Being a pianist himself, he wrote fluently for the instrument. Needless to say the Concerto’s technical demands are considerable. The opening movement begins with three brass chords, after which the soloist enters the fray. The overall tenor is assertive and commanding, the terrain rugged. A broad romantic sweep runs the course. Although the Andante has a fairly static quality, its melodic richness rivals the very best. Ivanovs' colourful and imaginative orchestration is a positive factor. The finale is carefree and has a confident spring in its step, with the piano writing spiky and rhetorical. The Russian pianist Igor Zhukov plays with commanding authority. He studied with Emil Gilels and Heinrich Neuhaus and was a friend of the composer, so is an ideal interpreter. I was very sad to discover that Zhukov died only a month ago on 26 January 2018, aged 81.

Written in 1971, the Symphony No. 14 ‘Sinfonia da camera’ is scored for strings alone. In three movements, it’s relatively brief in duration. The first movement sounds world weary with the string sonorities radiating a piercing chill. The dissonant opening chord of the central Andante carries forward the wintry theme. Out of the hushed stillness a solo violin wanders, as if lost, through a stark landscape. Although Ivanovs ups the rhetoric in the third movement, there's an overall disquiet, but he allows himself some time for sober reflection.

The Symphony No. 20 was composed in 1981 and was premiered that same year. Like all his symphonies, bar four, it's in four movements. Ivanovs was drawn to this traditional form. Having confided to his wife that it was to be his requiem, he forged it along the lines of a deeply personal statement. In it he pours out his soul, infusing the music with pain and suffering. In the opening movement there's drama and inner conflict and midway, to heighten the atmosphere, a funeral bell tolls. The elegaic Adagio is Ivanov's contemplation of death, and opens very much in Mahlerian vein. He allows himself a fleeting glance back to his youth in the brief Menuetto (Reminiscenca). The finale is forceful and energetic, with some reflective moments, when the music becomes quite subdued. He introduces the tolling bell once again towards the close, ending the symphony in a restrained manner.

The recordings derive from Latvian Radio, taped between 1971 and 1982. They sound fine. The music, where tender lyricism and raw emotion rub shoulders, offers many rewards. Highly recommended.

Stephen Greenbank

Previous review: Rob Barnett

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews



all Bridge reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

August 2022

Hervelois
Louis Caix d'Hervelois

massenet
orchestral songs

Singleton

 


String Quartets

la folia

mysterious

 

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass


Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I