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Suites & Poems

Suites & Poems


~ Ustvolskaya

(2 Pack)
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Product Notes

As well as being among the most gifted of Shostakovich's pupils, Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) is best known for composing music that unflinchingly confronts the big questions - death, God, loneliness - in an output of mostly instrumental pieces. Her language is spare, austere yet sized to contain the momentousness of her subjects. It will therefore come as a surprise to many listeners that Ustvolskaya was no less capable than many of her Soviet-era contemporaries of turning her hand to much lighter and more functional music when it was required. In 1953 she produced a Young Pioneers' Suite - opened and closed by a joyous trumpet fanfare - and two years later a Childrens' Suite of pieces barely longer than a couple of minutes, encapsulating a game of tag, a toy ballerina, a walk in the woods. Two years after that, in 1959, Ustvolskaya produced the Sports' Suite, perhaps emulating the example of Satie with a series of witty miniatures. These suites were all scored for orchestra and recorded for the state record label, Melodiya by the Leningrad Philharmonic under it's two legendary chief conductors, Yevgeny Mravinsky and Arvids Jansons (father of Mariss). They receive their first digital transfers and release in Europe with this new Brilliant Classics album, which will be an essential acquisition for students of Soviet contemporary music. Several recordings have never appeared in any format before such as the Poem on Peace from 1961 - not to be confused with her later, numbered instrumental Poems. This was first performed at a prestigious concert including new music from Europe and the US, and numbering among it's audience a delegation of American composers including Samuel Barber, who remarked after hearing Ustvolskaya's Poem: 'If that is peace, I prefer war.' The piece was not performed again and her career as an 'official' composer producing music to order was over. Perhaps this is just as well for posterity, but the chance to hear her early voice should not be missed.

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Title: Suites & Poems
Release Date: 12/6/2019
Label: Brilliant Classics
Number of Discs: 2
Product Type: CD
Catalog #: 96084
UPC: 5028421960845
Item #: 2231542X
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