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CD Review

Nicolai Myaskovsky

Symphony #6 in E Flat minor, Op. 23

"Anima" Moscow Chamber Choir
The Symphony Orchestra of Russia/Veronika Dudarova
Olympia OCD510 70:32 DDD
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Myaskovsky's Sixth was composed in 1922-23. The debacle of post-revolutionary Russia is shot through its movements like shrapnel. The folk descants, with the alcoholic cheeriness of Glazunov, are chased by the hideously sobering Dies Irae. If Myaskovsky was considered ideologically "pure," then the Communist brain-trust was missing something. The despair is not unrelenting, however; Dudarova finds in the fourth movement's waning minutes a Straussian-like transfiguration, and peace in the ascending tones of the alto choir.

Program notes by Robert Matthew-Walker are insightful and eloquent. The recording, which identifies itself as the first digital take of this piece, is grippingly real. Congratulations to all involved.

Copyright © 1997, Robert J. Sullivan