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Boris Tishchenko's
Symphony No 7 -
reviewed by

'... expert and at times wildly enthusiastic.'

Boris Tishchenko: Symphony No 7. Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra / Dmitry Yablonsky. © 2004 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Boris Tishchenko graduated from the Leningrad (St Petersburg) Conservatory in 1962 and has been a professor at that institution since 1986. As a postgraduate he studied with Shostakovich who considered him one of his finest students. A catalog of well over 100 works includes eleven symphonies. This, the seventh, was completed in 1994. Shostakovich is a major presence, but Tishchenko's relatively conservative tonal-style is the result of the eclectic use of many influences. Even jazz has a say in occasional wild touches and aggressive use of percussion. Sample the moment in the first movement when trombone glissandos may have you ducking to avoid dive bombers [listen -- track 1, 7:35-8:45]. This sort of antic interpolation makes Tishchenko among the most recognizable of contemporary composers in spite of obvious influences. (Another section of the first movement more than recalls Petrushka.)

The seventh symphony is in five movements. Each begins with a straightforward theme that is the basis for much of what follows. Here is the main theme of the first [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:21]. Thorough development of a limited amount of melodic material is characteristic of Tishchenko, as it was of his mentor Shostakovich. Stylistic diversity and that penchant for the unexpected distinguish the pupil from the master. The result can be entertaining, but misses the agonized depth of feeling and sense of inevitability permeating so much of Shostakovich's music. Shostakovich somehow turns the repetition of a banal, simple theme into a crushingly bitter and satiric comment on life's injustice. Tishchenko's development doesn't always escape the banality of the original thought. This is especially true in II here, though there are redeeming moments, as when drums and cymbals can no longer contain their exuberance [listen -- track 2, 3:50-5:12].

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Copyright © 9 February 2005 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


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