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CD Review

Iosif Andriasov

Chamber Music

  • String Quartet
  • "Spring" for 2 Violins, Viola & Cello
  • Piano Trio
Victor Romasevich, violin
Philip Santos, violin
Yun Jie Liu, viola
Lawrence Granger, cello
Marilyn Thompson, piano
Imma Records 2 28:49
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This is a very fine, engaging chamber music disc by an equally fine and engaging composer. Iosif Andriasov was not familiar to me prior to receiving this and its companion disc, but he was respected by Shostakovich, which is frankly good enough for me. Imma Records is part of an effort by his son and family to get his music out to the public, and based on evidence here, it is an entirely worthy cause.

The String Quartet simply brims with good tunes; two jaunty, effervescent our movements flank a really interesting slow movement. Andriasov certainly was as good a writer as Shostakovich claimed, since not only in the harmonic writing especially engaging, but seems to have also had an unusual gift for melody and exotic sounds. I mean no disrespect when I say that reminds me of Khachaturian, a composer who also had sizable gifts.

With "Spring", we enter a much bleaker sound world. But it's not simply noise; again the late composer proves to be a master at conjuring musical imagery. Hardly the "Spring" envisioned by others, this short piece is nonetheless an interesting addition to the repertoire. It has a bittersweet beauty about it that should intrigue any fan of chamber music, and appeal to those who like their music emotionally ambiguous.

This very short (29 minutes) program concludes with a Piano Trio. It's really a quite beautiful work, a little of Shostakovich or Prokofiev can be heard, if only in echoes, but it's also very original, in a language that neither of those two masters would have spoken. Each instrument is written for in a lovely way, with a true interplay between instruments. A touching middle movement leads to a bouncy, yet slightly sardonic finale. The piece is a winner in my book. The performers are all excellent and engage entirely in what I can only imagine is very unfamiliar music. While not the most earth-shattering experience on the planet, it is unquestionably rewarding, and fully worthy of the half hour it takes to listen. This release is recommended with warmth.

Copyright © 2013, Brian Wigman