VYACHESLAV ARTYOMOV (b.1940): 2 Suites from the Ballet Sola Fide (Vocal Soloists, Kaunas State Choir, Academic Symphony Orchestrra of the Moscow State Philharmonic; Dmitri Kitaenko), Tempo Costante (Moscow Chamber Orchestra “Musica Viva”; Murad Annamamedov.
Catalogue Number: 05T066
Label: Divine Art
Reference: dda 25164
Description: As we observed with the large-scale symphonic works we offered previously (11S069 and 11S070), this is a composer with a taste for the epic, the cosmological, spiritual and philosophical. His influences include Honegger, Messiaen, Eastern mysticism, and the Polish sonorists; all are audible in his music, though somewhat disconcertingly ebbing and flowing in prominence even within a given work. If you warm to extravagant, grandiose canvases - Tishchenko's Dante Symphonies, for instance - then this music (fundamentally unlike Tishchenko's in that it admits virtually no trace of Socialist Realism or the influence of Shostakovich, though they share a fondness for opulent, original, technicolor orchestration) will likely appeal strongly. Comparisons may also be drawn with certain works of Schnittke, or Kancheli, though the composer's overall idiom is very much his own. The ballet 'Only by Faith' had a long and somewhat confusing gestation. Conceived in the early 1980s as a stage representation of the trilogy of novels "Road to Calvary" about the fate of the Russian intelligentsia around the time of the Revolution. The scope of the work changed to a more symbolic essay on the dangers to culture in the turbulent modern era, and Artyomov incorporated sections of the Requiem Mass into the work. The requiem then took on a life of its own and became a magnificent work in its own right. When the ballet was completed in 2016, 10 of its 30 episodes were lifted verbatim from the Requiem, including six of the movements contained within the suites here. The Requiem movements depict the tragic situation of "Long-suffering Russia" while lyrical and dramatic episodes depict the characters and their interactions, drawn from the novel. Slow passages of great beauty and spiritual resonance alternate with passages of grinding discord or violence; much of the score is based on extended concepts of tonality, but some parts depart wildly from it. Tempo Costante is a much earlier work - 1970 - and has less tonal material. Described as a Concerto for Orchestra, it maintains a consistent pulse but elaborated by all manner of modernist polystylistic diversions and timbral variations.