The big piece -- 35 minutes -- here is the Piano Concerto, played to a fare-thee-well by Olga Solovieva and the Russian Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra conducted by Timur Mynbaev. The unfortunate thing is that I, at least, find little in it to maintain my interest. It is reportedly -- and obviously -- based not on melody or harmony but on what the composer calls 'rhythmotifs', which are rhythmic cells that are, in my opinion, done to death. The first movement (of five) is monotonously based on innumerable repetitions of the same note in a square rhythms that eventually make one want to throw something at the stereo speakers. The orchestration is very light and often nearly unnoticeable while the piano pounds out rhythms. If it had the harmonic tartness or rhythmic brutality of Prokofiev or Bartók, things would have been different, but there doesn't seem to be much here but repetition. I will say, so you'll know, that I'm not a big fan of minimalism and perhaps that's the sort of thing B. Tchaikovsky is aiming for here (although the concerto was written in 1971, before minimalism had even achieved a name much less a movement). So be it. Others will find this and the succeeding four movements memorable, I suspect, but I don't.
But the two other works here are winners. The Clarinet Concerto, played beautifully by clarinetist Anton Prischepa, is a delight. The scoring is light -- strings, three trumpets and timpani along with the soloist -- and the work reminds me a bit of Poulenc or the Shostakovich First Piano Concerto, and with jazzy licks like that of the Copland Concerto. There is a significant double-bass obbligato played brilliantly by Pavel Alfyorov. An utter delight. The 'Signs of the Zodiac, Cantata for Soprano, Harpsichord and Strings' from 1974 is another delight. The soprano sings one verse each from four poets Russian poets spanning two centuries (Silentium, by Fyodor Tyatchev; Far Out [Tam, daleko] by Alexander Blok; Cross o' Four Roads [U chetyryokh dorog] by Marina Tsvetaeva; and Signs of the Zodiac [Znaki Zodiaka] by Nikolai Zabolotsky). They take up themes of mortality and eternity. The soprano, Yana Ivanilova, has one of those slightly astringent Russian voices that perfectly fits the verses selected. The excellent harpsichordist (shades of de Falla's Harpsichord Concerto!) is Irina Goncharova.
In spite of my reaction to the Piano Concerto, I think those who have liked Boris Tchaikovsky's music would be well-advised to seek out this budget-priced issue. For others who are new to his music, I'd suggest they might begin, rather, with other issues, like the one of his piano music on Albany (and with the same pianist, Olga Solovieva, who is excellent).