Saturday, December 20, 2014

Alexander Tcherepnin - Symphony No. 4 - Suite for Orchestra - Russian Dances - Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Wing-Sie Yip - Marco Polo 1991

I have always enjoyed the music of Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977) and he is, with certainly, one of the under-appreciated and neglected Russian masters. While Tcherepnin was, like many of his compatriots inspired by the cultures of the surrounding territories and countries, Tcherepnin's musical voice is entirely his own, and it's a voice with a lot to say. Despite the lack of radio play and concert programming, there are very fine Tcherepnin discs to be cherished (his chamber works are also of the highest quality; one of my favorite discs is on Chandos, with world-premiere recordings of his Cello Sonatas (three of them) along with three other works also for Cello and Piano). I have been *dying* to get my hands on the BIS set of Tcherepnin's complete symphonies (there are four) and piano concertos; I believe the 4-disc set also includes a few other orchestral works as well...what a treasure chest!! I just don't have the $$ these days to buy and continue to feed my massive collecting and volcanic musical passion. In time I hope..

So I can attend to other things, including coffee, here is the original review from Gramophone on this disc (as a supplement due to my current state of pure sluggishness!):

Marco Polo are doing invaluable work in recording pieces which in many cases have insufficient character to be viable in the concert hall, but which nevertheless serve to round out the picture of our musical heritage. Alexander Tcherepnin, son of Nikolai, with whom he moved from Russia to Paris in 1921, has now faded almost entirely from concert programmes, but he has always managed to keep a toehold in the record catalogue. His Second Symphony of 1951 used to be available on an LP coupled with the Second Piano Concerto (RCA, 9/77); the Third, composed the following year, is currently available from Thorofon; the First of 1927, not currently in the catalogue, is the one I would really like to hear, if only for its all-percussion second movement (predating Varese's Ionisation by four years).
The Fourth, and last of the cycle, was commissioned by Charles Munch for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It dates from 1957 and is characteristically attractive and well-made. The outer movements chug along nicely with lean textures and agile rhythms, while the central slow movement goes in for moderately recherche timbres (it starts as a piccolo waltz) which might put some listeners in mind of Vaughan Williams's Eighth, completed two years earlier. A certain slackness of thematic invention and schematicism in the harmony perhaps account for the music's ultimately faceless impression and the lack of staying power; devotees of 'easy-listening' symphonies may nevertheless find things to enjoy here.
More worthy of actual concert revival, I would say, is the Romantic Overture, a kind of Russian in Paris piece based on memories of street-life in old St Petersburg. The Op. 87 Suite evokes aspects of urban life, for the most part in very obvious, sub-Petrushka ways. The Russian Dances, undeveloped though they remain, are good clean fun. The orchestral playing shows signs of genuine relish, especially in the shorter pieces, and the recording quality is more successful than some from this source. This is an out-of-the-way issue but not one that has been thrown together without care.' 

*I have no idea what the reviewer means (or, why he includes this here if it's a general statement) by "insufficient character to be viable in the concert hall" as Tcherepnin's music is the complete opposite! The majority of the review is strangely negative, I'm not sure why I'm bothering to post it other than fatigue. I expect that I will end up deleting this rubbish review (I'm sure you will all agree with me once listening to the disc) and add my own notes in the near future.Quite inane really, I have to say it..

*And here's (an extremely thorough bio) on Tcherepnin from the Tcherepnin Society: The site promotes the lives and work of three generations of the Tcherepnin family: Alexander of course, as well as Nikolai Tcherepnin, Alexander's Father, and Ivan Tcherepnin, Alexander Tcherepnin's son.

I hope everyone finds this Tcherepnin disc to be superb as I do, there is not a single note that is not interesting, the musical life-force is explosive, it's a satisfying experience down to the marrow I would say! 



Anonymous said...

Conocía el ciclo de sinfonias bellísimas de Tcherepnin,pero no las 2 suites del cd marco plus,supeeeeeeeeer gracias,Tzadik,y más gracias por identificar los cd de Lloyd,un abrazo sinfónico,my friend USA!! Tapirman.

Jim said...

I reckon the reason for the quoted negative review was that this music doesn't not feature any of the acidic harmonies and strident textures so beloved by concert-goers and CD buyers around the world. Modern good taste demands that music should induce feelings of angst, hypertension, and headaches. Sarcasm aside, give me any amount of Tcherepnin, Martinu, Sibelius, Ibert, etc. - forget Maxwell Davies, Schnittke, Henze, Remarkable family the Tcherepnin's - deeply woven into Russian music history.

cjvinthechair said...

Ah, great - didn't have no. 4, & didn't realise I was looking for it, so double surprise for Christmas !
Many thanks for all you do to share your passion with us, and best Holiday wishes to you & all who love their music on this site.

Tzadik said...

Hola Tapirman, happy the suites are new to you. Don't worry, your days in Lloyd-heaven will come, no matter how long it takes me :) Happy Holidays! TZ

Tzadik said...

Hi there Jim, I agree with you almost entirely...except about Schnittke, whom I find to be genius. But his music is without a doubt not for everyone, nor should it be-indeed it's refreshing that all music is this way, is it not? :) Martinu and Sibelius in particular...oh I can listen to their music for 24 hours straight and be 100% in love (and exhausted I suppose) -TZ

Tzadik said...

Hi CJV. ..You didn't realize you were looking for it...ha I like that. You are very welcome, and thank you as always for your thoughtful comments. Happy holidays to you too my friend in the chair! TZ

Anonymous said...

It's gone... can you pls put it back?

Tzadik said...

Hi please try zshare again, I just checked and it's there. It downloads fine too