Sviridov: The Blizzard & Pushkin's Garland

For the 15th anniversary of the death of the outstanding Russian composer Georgy Sviridov, Melodiya presents an album of his best know works of different years.

The ideal Georgy Sviridov strived for was music for the chosen ones which belonged to the masses. His creative work was uncommon for 20th century music – he found his style yet remained inside the classical tradition without breaking it. No matter what he composed for – voice, choir or orchestra – his music went straight to the heart evoking a sensitive listener's keen response be it a sophisticated music lover or a dilettante.

Sviridov's music revives and continues the best sides of the Russian music tradition. It is no mere chance that his best known compositions are linked with the name of Alexander Pushkin. They are the ones featured on this album.

The score to the motion pictures The Blizzard after Pushkin's novel was composed in 1964. It has outlived the film becoming a self-sufficient and incredibly popular symphonic piece from Music Illustrations to Pushkin's Novel. Pushkin's Garland for soloists, choir and instrumental ensemble became the composer's offering for the poet's 180th anniversary. This choir cycle opened a new page of Sviridov's creative path anticipating his late vocal opuses.

Sviridov's works are performed by the All-Union Radio Big Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev, a recognized interpreter of the composer's music, and the remarkable Moscow Chamber Choir led by Vladimir Minin.

The composer Georgy Sviridov (1915–1998) turned to Alexander Pushkin's poetry for the first time in 1935 by creating a cycle of six romances, which unveiled the nineteen-year-old author's distinctive mastery. That was the time when Sviridov discovered his major theme, a theme of Poet and his high destination and fate inseparably linked with the theme of motherland and people. Each step on the way of understanding the theme was a discovery of both new poetic worlds and new sides to the composer's music.

Georgy Sviridov's music for the motion picture The Blizzard was a basis for his orchestral illustrations to Pushkin's novel of the same name. It corresponded to the spirit of Pushkin's novel, its simplicity and unpretentiousness, the artlessness of its characters and their integral, harmonious perception of life in the best way possible. This music has a prevailing melodic element. The harmonies are very simple yet original and somewhat sophisticated at times. The orchestral colours are light, fresh and aquarelle. However, the orchestral palette in general shows him to be a contemporary master, a skilful stylist of a different music era.

In his Pushkin Garland, Sviridov employed a form of Russian choral concerto combining the features of large-scale epic compositions and lyrical chamber choral miniatures. Pushkin Garland is both a wreath of beautiful flowers of Pushkin's poetry and laurels to the poet. It has a great deal of inflorescences and stems to it at the same time – a multitude of diverse themes and motifs. At every instance they appear in new combinations and deliver new contrasts but always constitute a striking unity.

The premier of the choral concerto Pushkin Garland took place at the Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory on 5 April 1979, the year of the poet's 180th anniversary.

The Grand Symphony Orchestra of All-Union National Radio Service and Central Television Networks (Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra) is one of the oldest symphony orchestras. It was established in 1930 and intended for classical music broadcasts. Some of the prominent Russian conductors such as Alexander Orlov, Nikolai Golovanov, Alexander Gauk and Gennady Rozhdestvensky headed the orchestra in different periods of time. In 1974, Vladimir Fedoseyev (born 1932) took the lead of the orchestra. He has been its artistic director and principal conductor for almost forty years now. Today, the orchestra is one of the world's best symphony orchestras. It was named after the great Poytr Tchaikovsky in 1993 for its genuine interpretations of the Russian classic's compositions.

The Moscow Chamber Choir was organized in 1972 by the outstanding choral conductor Vladimir Minin (born 1929) who drew in students and teachers of the Gnessin Music Teachers Institute. Vladimir Minin's creative concept was to form a unique ensemble of soloists and bright individuals: "I viewed my task as creation of a contemporary chamber ensemble of soloists. I wanted the capabilities of the choir members to show, each of them had to be a personality…" As early as in 1974, the choir obtained a professional status and went on its first foreign tour. Vladimir Minin's choir quickly won the international recognition and repute, and has toured around the world with invariable success. The Moscow Chamber Choir was acknowledged the best at the 1st World Symposium on Choral Music in Vienna in 1987. The choir's repertoire was built on novelty works by contemporary composers, interpretations of Russian folk music and large-scale compositions by West European classics. Since the day of its formation, the choir paid special attention at interpretations of Russian sacred music by such composers as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Grechaninov, Pavel Chesnokov, Sergei Taneyev and others. The works dedicated to Vladimir Minin by prominent contemporary composers rank high in the choir's repertoire – cantata Night Clouds by Georgy Sviridov, choral extravaganza symphony Chimes by Valery Gavrilin, choral liturgy The Sealed Angel by Rodion Shchedrin and liturgy Seven Summer Lightnings of the Apocalypse by Vladimir Dashkevich.

Track list

  • Total time: 63.13