VYACHESLAV ARTYOMOV (b.1940): Symphony The Way to Olympus (USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra; Timur Mynbayev), Gurian Hymn (Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow State Philharmonic; Dmitri Kitaenko), Concert of the 13 (Piotr Meschaninov [piano], Soloists of USSR State Academic SO; Gennadt Rozhdestvensky), Preludes to Sonnets for Piano (Anton Batagov).
Catalogue Number: 07U061
Label: Divine Art
Reference: dda 25171
Description: The Way to Olympus is the first symphony in the composer's huge symphonic tetralogy, collectively called "Symphony of the Way", of which two other parts have already been released (11S069 and 11S070). The cycle represents a spiritual journey through a cosmos of spiritual and temporal landscapes. This half-hour introduction consists of a slow amorphous opening section of shifting planes and clouds of sonority which try to coalesce around vague tonal centers while accumulating density of texture. After a convulsive climax like the pealing of bells the music takes on a steady pulse which it retains for much of its remaining duration, often with a Pettersson-like ostinato insistence while other material accretes around it and dissipates again. The huge orchestral forces are employed with technicolor extravagance throughout this gigantic, inexorable march from chaos to ordered action. Gurian Hymn is a slow, meditative work with three 'layers' that proceed almost independently; a bass cantus firmus derived from a Georgian Easter hymn; the elaborate embellishments by three solo violins, with sense of Pärt-like spiritual minimalism, and the near-constant tintinnabulation of altar bells, temple bells, cathedral bells ... The lively concerto for 13 instruments, rather than aiming for the epic grandeur of the symphonic works (though it is not without its dramatic moments) is described by the composer as a 'game' in which groups of instruments form alliances and rivalries in a lively discourse within the ensemble. The final movement (of four) is like a miniature piano concerto within a concerto, with a prominent and propulsive solo part. Listening to the Preludes, after Rilke’s "Sonnets to Orpheus", Artyomov's sole piano work (why? when he can write for the piano like this!), is rather like discovering three hitherto unknown very late works by Scriabin.