Igor Markevitch: Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 4

Igor Markevitch: Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 4

by Christopher Lyndon-Gee
     
 

The rediscovery of the forgotten 1920s and 1930s music of Ukrainian-French composer Igor Markevitch was a major event in the last years of the 20th century; here was a genuine missing link: a composer who linked the idioms of Stravinsky and Prokofiev to the far more rigorous concerns of postwar French composers such as See more details below

Overview

The rediscovery of the forgotten 1920s and 1930s music of Ukrainian-French composer Igor Markevitch was a major event in the last years of the 20th century; here was a genuine missing link: a composer who linked the idioms of Stravinsky and Prokofiev to the far more rigorous concerns of postwar French composers such as Messiaen and Dutilleux. This Naxos disc is a reissue of one of the recordings that made this event possible in its original form as a Marco Polo disc, featuring the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra under Christopher Lyndon-Gee; everything about it is the same as the Marco Polo release except for the front cover and that now what was Volume 3 in Marco Polo's series is now Volume 4. "Rébus," orchestrally premiered in 1931, was intended as a ballet and certainly sounds like it could be one, but was never staged that way; it's effect is kind of like a crazy "Agon" with off-the-hook Prokofiev added in; the "Variations" are a continuous passacaglia in which the note values evolve by steps through succeeding passages, but instead of evolving patient, busily contrapuntal harmonic clashes and gradually bigger textures à la Hindemith, it's more like a wild, freaky party; not quite the orgiastic outbursts in Messiaen's "Turangalîla Symphony," but certainly closer to that than Hindemith. The Hymnes date, for the most part, from 1932-33; the concluding "Hymne à la Mort" was added in 1936. This was one of a few pieces that Markevitch began to conduct again at the very end of his career after a long, decades-long impasse where he prohibited performances of his own music. One can see why he would favor this piece; it's immediate, violently rhythmic (during the "Hymn of Work" and "Third Hymn," particularly) and also emotionally very charged, introspective, colorful, and mysterious, particularly in the "Hymne à la Mort." Markevitch's testy relationship with Igor Stravinsky is one of the constant elements of Markevitch's biography and, indeed, served to shape him. No one can blame conductor/annotator Christopher Lyndon-Gee for making the comment, "Let this necessary observation not be misleading: Stravinsky's 'influence' on young Markevitch is minimal," as Markevitch's undeserved reputation as a mere Stravinsky imitator -- to some extent cultivated by the jealous older composer -- has become so prevalent in the discussion of Markevitch's work as a composer. However, Markevitch's friction with Stravinsky is one of the elements that make his music interesting and good. If you like Stravinsky in his pre-neo-classic period, or early Prokofiev, or for that matter the music of Silvestre Revueltas, Naxos' Igor Markevitch: Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 4, will not fail to please; it's vibrant, challenging, exciting, and there are some sections of it that just carry you right along by virtue of its strong rhythms, strangeness, and visionary spirit.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/23/2010
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313215478
catalogNumber:
8572154
Rank:
239361

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