<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson TEDDYBEARS' PICNIC
Nor did his zest for development end there. When already thirty, he decided
on a return to basics, busying himself with contrapuntal puzzles, fugues and
harmonization of chorales. Tchaikovsky approved and helped but found the first
fruits indigestible. Musorgsky was scornful and hoped he would run out of ink.
Both works on this CD are among the 1876 results of a considerable ink supply,
and both were submitted in a competition organised by the Russian Music Society.
The sextet received honourable mention, the quintet was ignored. The jury's
decision was topsy-turvy. The sextet is full of attractive ideas but, a wonder
in the case of Rimsky-Korsakov who had an uncanny ear for instrumental colour,
the scoring is less than subtle. Nor does the team's performance help. Czech
players were once legendary for their instinctive musicianship, most notably
the fiddlers. Here too much is perfunctory. Yet there is a touch of
traditional style in the
saltarello Scherzo [listen -- track 6, 1:59-3:06].
The rhythmic momentum has carried the players joyously along. Rimsky also
manages an affecting slow movement despite his absorbtion in the textbooks,
and here too the strings give of their best [listen --
track 7, 0:00-0:55].
Copyright © 7 September 2003
Robert Anderson, London UK