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Symphony No. 6 Import


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1. Andantino - Vivace - Allegretto
2. Allegro Moderato - Commodo
3. Andantino - Animato - Adagio - Moderato - Andante
4. Intermezzo. Larghetto
5. Vivace Con Moto - Larghetto

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Amazon.com: 1 review
Maintains Silvestrov's usual concerns, but something of a step forward May 12 2015
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
By the early 1980s, after an early career as a serialist and a long hiatus, Valentin Silvestrov had developed a highly individual style. The Ukrainian composer was doubtful about the ability to create new music in this day and age, seeking instead to write "postludes" to the Romantic era, the last common language of Western music. These works feature a perpetual succession of melodies, but without any direction, while the lush tonality is undermined by Webern-like jumps of minor seconds and major sevenths. The composer's Fifth Symphony was an important culmination in this style.

The Symphony No. 6 (1994-95, rev. 2002) has sometimes been called an unimaginative retread of the Fifth, but I don't think that's fair. True, Silvestrov's stylistic concerns have not changed all that much; we continue to find a nostalgia for a common musical heritage and there's no development towards any hitherto unheard goal. In form, however, the Sixth shows Silvestrov exploring new territory. Unlike the long single-movement works of the 1980s, the composer has cast this symphony in five movements with a symmetrical shape.

The first movement opens, like all late Silvestrov, with a dissonant chord. But where Silvestrov was previously keen on launching into melodies straightaway, the music here wanders for a long time through this mist of unstable harmonies. The music is sparse, unsteady, almost as if Silvestrov were following Schnittke's turn to a grim, ghostly pace. Things find some steady ground in the second movement, but not too much. The third movement is the longest of all, making up nearly half of this 55-minute work. It opens as a lush, poignant meditation that has often been compared to the famous "Adagietto" of Mahler's Fifth, though this has its stormy movements. It is only with the third movement that comparisons to Silvestrov's previous symphony seem appropriate. The short fourth movement reduces the coherence somewhat, while the last movement returns the piece to the sparse textures of the beginning.

Silvestrov's Symphony No. 6 is not, I would say, an especially great work. I have great reservations about most of this composer's output. But for fans of the composer, it does show a progression of sorts and is worth hearing. Two recordings are presently available, this MDG disc where Roman Kofman leads the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, and an ECM disc with Andrey Boreyko conducting the SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. It's hard to decide which is the better one -- this MDG disc is a hybrid SACD with pristine sound and 5.1 surround audio, while the ECM recording is in mere stereo and occasionally has the noise of pages being flipped. Still, the ECM presents the symphony well and the tiny imperfections somehow work with Silvestrov's poignant style, looking back to a vanished, lower-fi age.

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