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Mihailo TRANDAFILOVSKI (b. 1974)
Diptych (Violin Concerto No. 2) (2010-12) [18:18
Duo 1 (2004) [11:34]
Duo 2 (White) (2008) [19:47
Duo 3 (2016) [9:49]
Fibers AND Coils (2015) [15:24]
Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin)
Roderick Chadwick (piano)
Kreutzer Quartet
rec. 2013-2017, All Saints, Tooting; St Michael's Highgate; St John The Baptist, Aldbury, UK
METIER MSV28582 [74:59]

Macedonian composer and violinist Mihailo Trandafilovski is not a new visitor to MusicWeb International. A Lorelt disc was reviewed here in 2011. He is also a member of the Kreutzer Quartet alongside Peter Sheppard Skærved and that quartet is amongst the performers heard here.

The two movement Diptych (Violin Concerto No. 2) comprises Dance-Ascent and Song-Rotation. The first buzzes and hums with loud passionate intensity. Skærved's foregrounded violin leaves honed blade trails in the textures explored. The music is like Vivaldi but piled to the ceiling with volatility, scorch-marks and danger. This cannot go on indefinitely and gradually the tapestry of sound becomes more subdued. A silence asserts itself from which emerges Song-Rotation. A little like Gubaidulina in this movement, Trandafilovski majors in introspection but it cannot be termed "relaxing". The composer keeps probing the music's breaking-strain but, exhausted, finds an almost self-effacing peace with which to end niente. Longbow is the middle-sized string orchestra providing the angry or quiet backdrop to Skærved's dazzling solos in this diptych.

We then get to hear the composer's numbered Duos for violin and piano. In Duo 1 the composer mercilessly piles high the dissonance and harsh hammered-out atonality. The central episode and epilogue have chiming piano notes that serve to clear the air of hysteria. Duo 2 is in seven little movements without titles other than numbers. They range between 2:12 and 3:57 in duration. This is more accessible music than Duo 1 with upscaled defiant nobility, display, resonant bell-towers and gentle reflection all in evidence. That the final 'panel' ends in long silences separated by pecked notes on the piano is typical of Trandafilovski. The writing reminded me of the music of Richard Pantcheff. I would not have said that of the other pieces here. Duo 3 is in a single dissonant movement rotating between harsh impacts on the piano and modernistic "gypsying" from the violin.

The single movement Fibers AND Coils for string quartet buzzes with activity. This is pitched at a whisper or slightly above. It has a duration almost as long as the Violin Concerto No. 2. There is an awesome strength behind this playing which again essays no easy ingratiation with the listener: why should it? This is music that is toweringly confident in the avant-garde trails it lays. Hectically jet-propelled sandstorms of sound leave the listener in awe but Tradafilovski also leads the supplicant listener down a gradient to otherworldly peace. Pianissimo confidences are vouchsafed by the violins.

The Metier booklet sets out in English only and across 16 pages what Skærved and the composer want us to know about this music and its performers.

The recording is staggeringly complicit in what Trandafilofski has to say and the musicians (who include the composer) seem completely in touch with the music.

Rob Barnett

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