VYACHESLAV ARTYOMOV (b.1940): Hymns of Sudden Wafts for Soprano/Tenor Saxophones, Harpsichord and Piano, Sonata for Solo Clarinet, Litany I for Saxophone Quartet, Litany II for 3 Flutes and Alto Flute, Sunday Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, 4 Armenian Duets for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano and Piano, Capriccio on the ’75 New Year Eve for Soprano and Baritone Saxophones, Vibraphone, Flexatone and Bells.

Catalogue Number: 05V055

Label: Divine Art

Reference: dda 25198

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: Volume 11 of this immensely valuable series offers a selection of relatively early (1960s and ‘70s, with one exception) works for smaller forces than the vast epics on which Artyomov's reputation primarily rests. The extensive work that provides the CD's title is a contemplation of the natural world - the air currents and breezes, and unexpected colors and movements that speak of a mystical undercurrent in perpetual, evolving motion. This is very much what this organic music sounds like; after a short introduction the piece becomes a long meditation in a relatively tonal idiom, which gradually becomes warmer and harmonically richer. An eruptive passage suddenly develops with dense keyboard chords and clusters, which recedes as quickly as it began, and the music returns to a calm interplay of unpredictable, abstract gestures. The little Clarinet Sonata is an engaging early work (1966), far more ‘conventional' than the majority of the composer’s output. This is also true of the two Litanies for groupings of instruments in the same family, with their consonant harmonies and suggestions of songlike or hymnlike tunefulness. Sunday Sonata was written as a competition piece, so it makes a wide range of technical demands on the soloist, but it is also an enjoyable concert piece with a distinct dramaturgy and expressive content. Artyomov developed strong ties to Armenia, and the four haunting, sad little songs with their highly effective counterpoint between the two voices, set poems by Azerbaijani-born Armenian poet Ashot Bagdasarovich Grashi (1910-1973). The strange, eloquently lamenting Capriccio is actually about the departure into exile from the Soviet Union of a friend of the composer, and only coincidentally (and by way of a diversion) about New Year's Eve. The piece consists of mournful, plaintive gestures and melodic fragments in sonorous timbres. Various performers.


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