VYACHESLAV ARTYOMOV (b.1940): In Memoriam (Oleh Krysa [violin], Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic; Dmitri Kitaenko), Lamentations (Oleg Yanchenko [organ], ASO of the MSP; Kitaenko), Pietà (Aleksandr Rudin [cello], Moscow Chamber Orchestra “Musica Viva”; Murad Annamamedov), Tristia I (Stanislav Bunin [piano], USSR State Symphony Orchestra; Timur Mynbaev).
Catalogue Number: 03U058
Label: Divine Art
Reference: dda 25175
Description: The latest entry in this important series couples four works of serious, even tragic mood, reflecting on the darker mysteries of faith and the troubled history of the composer's homeland during and after WWII. In Memoriam is effectively a violin concerto, deriving some material from a discarded 1968 work and recomposed in 1984 as the first of a series of concertante 'symphonies'. Unusually for Artyomov, the early stages of the work are more than a little reminiscent of Shostakovich, especially the First Violin Concerto, with which it shares the key of A minor. After a while more discordant, harmonically indeterminate and flamboyantly percussive material begins to invade the texture, and the piece increasingly works itself up into a furious frenzy, though the violin's narrative thread remains a stabilisingly tonal influence throughout. An explosive climax leads to an angry coda and an abrupt conclusion. As one might expect from Artyomov in his response to one of the most tragic images of the Christian tradition - the Virgin Mary holding the crucified body of Jesus - this cello concerto is an impassioned lament, an instrumental Stabat mater dolorosa. The emotions expressed in this dark work are despair, anguish, pain and numb desolation. In common with his other works following the Requiem (11U062), Artyomov makes use of an idiom with a core of tonality, around which ample dissonance and sonorist textures accrete. The Requiem is explicitly evoked in the Lamentations, three episodes arranged from those in that work during its composition, with the organ taking on the role of the choir's sighing, lamenting complex chords, while the strings weep in descending figures and a large percussion section invokes funerary bells. Tristia is a considerably earlier work than the others here, from 1978, the year after A Symphony of Elegies (10U062), with which it has much in common. The "very slow and consist[ing] mostly of amorphous string textures, often shifting and overlapping in planes of dissonant intervals and clusters, with no development" of that work also applies here. These dragging, viscous masses of clustered micropolyphonic texture are intermittently punctuated by interjections from the piano, trumpet and organ, suggesting laments and tolling bells.