LEONID DESYATNIKOV (b.1955): Sketches to Sunset (World Premiere Recording), Russian Seasons for Violin, Voice and Strings.
Catalogue Number: 05S065
Reference: QTZ 2122
Description: This is hugely enjoyable on many levels. For a start, to be able to address serious subjects with such a non-stop flow of pitch-perfect humor, wicked irony and genuine feeling, is a rare gift. Secondly, the music, shifting dizzyingly from one style to another, is an intricate puzzle of allusion, quotation, references and parody; Desyatnikov is probably the most accomplished polystylistic pasticheur since Schnittke. And throughout, the music remains tonal, inviting, and instantly accessible. Sketches to Sunset is based on Desyatnikov’s music for Alexander Zeldovich’s film 'Sunset', after Isaac Babel, which weaves the biblical story of David and Absalom into the story of Jewish gangsters in twentieth century Odessa. The piece, performed here in its version for full orchestra, is a riot of Jewish melodies, tangos and full-blooded Russian romanticism. The tango based on the Adagietto from Mahler 5 in the movement 'Death in Venice' is typical of the tumultuous association of ideas in which the work abounds. Russian Seasons is based on Russian folk tunes and texts. The five vocal movements are melancholy, with that peculiarly Russian sentiment of celebrating beauty in the face of the abyss, and are treated with respect, musically; the concertante movements with violin are where the composer's gift for virtuosic glee in anarchic humor and quicksilver wit is given free rein. Roman Mintz (violin), Yana Ivanilova (soprano), Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra; Philipp Chizhevsky.