LEONID DESYATNIKOV (b.1955): Return for Oboe, Clarinet, String Quartet and Tape, Du côté de chez Swan for 2 Pianos, Variations on the Obtaining of a Dwelling for Cello and Piano, Wie der Alte Leiermann... for Violin and Piano, The Leaden Echo for Voice and Instruments, Main Theme from the movie Moscow Nights for Violin and String Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 09N080
Reference: QTZ 2087
Description: Desyatnikov delights in appropriating material from musical history for pastiche or parody treatment in these works, with a goodly dose of Soviet-era musical irony (thank you Dmitri Dmitrievitch) and impeccable Soviet-era employment of a basically tonal vocabulary (ditto). Add a bit of post-Soviet polystylism, and that just about sums up a quirky and entertaining output with some serious points to make and ample technique to make them. For instance, the two-piano work takes as its point de départ Saint-Saëns' Swan, deconstructs it, subjects it to all kinds of stylistic treatments, including a lively passage of minimalism, while periodically allowing the original to resurface like a sentimental echo. Return is a series of ostinato variations, initially very consonant almost to the point of kitsch, but accumulating dissonance as they approach a statement of their subject - a recording of grandly ceremonial Japanese gagaku music, which being in untempered intonation sounds like the next stage of heightened dissonance. The Variations also start with a tonal reference to Haydn, which somehow gets subsumed in an evocation of Indian music, again breaking the boundaries of western intonation, before returning to its origins at the end. The violin work borrows from Schubert; the eerie Gerard Manley Hopkins setting contains distorted echoes of Elizabethan consort of viols and countertenor styles - as effective as they are unsettling as the work matches the text in its mounting despair. Various performers.