Wartime Music, Vol. 7 GAVRIIL POPOV (1904-1972): Symphony No. 3 "Heroic" for Large String Orchestra, Op. 45, Symphonic Aria for Cello and String Orchestra, Op. 45.
Catalogue Number: 11L009
Label: Northern Flowers
Reference: NF/PMA 9972
Description: Popov's symphony was originally intended to be a concerto grosso on which he began work in 1939, using Spanish folk song motifs from a film-score he had done for a documentary shot by Soviet film-makers in Spain during the Civil War. Presumably the Nazi invasion of 1941 put the project on hold and Popov did not finish the work until 1946, by which time it had grown into a huge, five-movement piece of 54 minutes with an Intrada and three fast movements surrounding a 20-minute largo espressivo slow movement which seems to distill four years of privation, fear, misery and struggle. Only one "Spanish" motif remains unaltered - a Basque folk song in the second movement - but the third preserves aspects of the Catalonian contrapas and an old Castillian tonada. The result is an epic "war symphony" in an unusual form (the strings are often divided into multiple voices, resulting in an ingenious multiplication, stratification and richness of texture and harmonic astringency. The Symphonic Aria is a 15-minute elegy, impassioned at times, inspired by the death in 1945 of the writer Alexei Tolstoy. Dmitry Khrychov (cello), St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Titov.