Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov - Orchestral Music - Loris Tjeknavorian - Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra

To this day I do not understand why more of Ippolitov-Ivanov's music is not published and recorded;
his place in musical history is, needless to say, cemented almost exclusively by his two Suites "Caucasian Sketches". "Caucasian Sketches No. 1" is by far the better known, due to it's final movement, the stirring and triumphant "Procession of the Sardar". Indeed the 4th movement is simply ubiquitous, and loved by many-there are a ton of recordings/compilations that only include that excerpt of the Sketches Suite No. 1; if there's one thing I *really* get annoyed by it's excerpts!!! But alas that is Ippolitov-Ivanov's least with a general, non-specialist classical music audience, including at most the entire Suite No.1. 

His musical canon is not huge, however there's many works that are not available whatsoever (again one can just opt for one of the 10,000 recordings of Caucasian Sketches No. 1) such as: six Operas, at least five Orchestral Suites, (at least) ten misc. orchestral works, five (I think, maybe six?) works for Chorus and Orchestra, at least 20 Choral works, chamber music (including a String Quartet I have always wanted to hear, not available whatsoever) also a work for String Quartet on Armenian themes, "An Evening in Georgia", (which I posted a couple months ago) a Piano Quartet, and several others, and many songs. Two works that sounds especially intriguing are "Village Evenings: Fantasy on Themes for Balalaikas and Large Orchestra" and also "Nine Caucasian Dances for Georgian folk instruments and Performers". -From what I understand there's over 100 "opus numbers/works", actually 80 or so with numbers, and then 20 or so with no opus number. How wonderful and what a gift it would be if any of the works I mentioned would be recorded! (Naxos, we need you..)

The "Armenian Rhapsody" is based on authentic folk material collected by the Turkish-Armenian composer and ethnomusicologist Komitas Vardapet. Ippolitov-Ivanov makes atmospheric use of a solo violin in this seven-minute work, which I think is one of his best "ethnic" works available.

The "Turkish March" and "Turkish Fragments" come from 1929 and 1930, respectively. Like the Caucasian Sketches, both seem to have been written to appeal to a broad audience. For music written at that time, it is happily old-fashioned, but there's no denying that an expert melodist and orchestrator are at work here. Rimsky-Korsakov might have been a little jealous! The Turkish Fragments could achieve the popularity of "Procession of the Sardar" too, if given a chance.

(Perhaps now is a good time to mention that Ippolitov-Ivanov seemed to weather the Communist Revolution just fine. He ensured his welcome in the new regime with occasional pieces such as the "Jubilee March" named after Clement Voroshilov, a Ukrainian who modernized the Red Army. The march, which opens this CD, is jollier than one might expect for a display of military might.)

"Mtsïri" is the longest work on this CD. It is 20-minute tone poem that tells the story of a young lay brother who escapes his monastery and becomes lost in the forest. He meets a maiden and falls in love, and then is wounded by a tiger. He drags himself to a stream in hopes of reviving himself, but dies as he tells his story to a sympathetic monk. All this and more are depicted in the music, which is almost Lisztian. (Again, note that this work was composed as late as 1922.) Mtsïri reaches an emotional climax with a soprano solo – the song of a little fish who lives in the stream. The work has its longueurs, but it is worth waiting around for this inexpressibly limpid and lovely solo.

Also included is an aria from "Assya", Ippolitov-Ivanov's third opera. Simply gorgeous and there's no doubt about it: Ippolitov-Ivanov wrote masterfully for the voice too...yet not a single recorded Opera either, yet admirers can dream on. Enjoy

Ippolitov-Ivanov_ Orchestral_


Joan Tallada said...

Hi Tzadik! This is the first time you post a disc I already own. This was one of those bought in bargain sections just for the artwork in the cover, because at that time (I was younger and naive, ehem...) did not know the composer. Not that I deeply love it, but found it pleasant. Saludos. Joan

Joan Tallada said...
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Joan Tallada said...
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Anonymous said...

Wonderful disc!!

Tzadik said...

Damn! you already have the disc Joan? I have failed ;P
I can understand about the cover art, indeed there's also an ASV disc of Myaskovsky that has quite similar art-so clearly you would enjoy it, hehe.. It seems you prefer neo-classical composers the most? -Regards

Joan Tallada said...

Not only, really. I also like very much purely contemporary composers. Saariaho is a favorite of mine, for instance. Thierry Pécou, as well. And the early Pierre Henry, and Adès, Corigliano, Benjamin. And I'll stop here.

theblueamos said...

Thank you very much from Jerusalem.Have'nt listened to it yet.sorry.

Tzadik said...

Yep. Joan I too like quite a bit of contemporary music, a lot really, however I steer clear mostly of posting any on the blog..dunnoo why to be honest. I especially love John Zorn, Morton Subotnick, Gloria Coates, Eve Beglarian, Aleksander Lason, "Colleen" aka Cécile Schott, Colin Jacobsen, Tom Jenkinson (aka Squarepusher, his alias when making manic brilliant electronic music), Jakub Ciupinski, Paul Lansky, Marc Mellits, Phyllis Chen, blah blah blah... ;)

Tzadik said...

Hiya, blue/t.b.h. long time no comment ;) Well, enjoy the music whenever you have the time! Kind regards Tz