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Unjustly Neglected

Violin concertos by
Nikolay Roslavets

Hyperion    CDA67637

Roslavets Violin Concertos - Alina Ibragimova, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Ilan Volkov. © 2008 Hyperion Records Ltd

The third Hyperion disc dedicated to the music of the Russian composer Nikolay Roslavets highlights the fact that this obscure musician, born in the Ukraine in 1881 is now emerging as one of Russia's most fascinating musical figures of the 20th century.

Although he welcomed the 1917 Revolution and was a respected artist, his modernist ideas were savagely targeted by the so-called adherents of 'proletarian' music, and Roslavets had to endure an almost endless persecution which resulted in false accusation, personal humiliation and even forced exile in Tashkent.

On his return to Moscow in 1933, this political warfare somewhat relented and the composer had to eke out a living by performing such menial tasks as training military band leaders. He died in 1944 after a second stroke.

This disc pairs two of his better works in the shape of the Violin Concertos. The first, which dates from 1925, is an ambitious and brilliant piece full of harmonic and melodic innovations which occasionally hint at Scriabin.

Listen -- Roslavets: Allegretto grazioso (Violin Concerto No 1)
(track 1, 1:30-2:58) © 2008 Hyperion Records

The 1936 Second Concerto is a shorter and leaner work, but its dark undertones characterize the earlier Roslavets.

Listen -- Roslavets:
(track 4, 5:17-6:55) © 2008 Hyperion Records

Ibragimova is a fiery and passionate advocate of this unjustly neglected repertoire and her voluptuous interpretations drove Volkov and his Scottish forces to a ravishing level of sound. A Russian blockbuster in gorgeous sonics and presentation.

Copyright © 5 January 2009 Gerald Fenech, Gzira, Malta




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