VLADIMIR GENIN (b.1958): 7 Melodies for the Dial.
Catalogue Number: 02O078
Label: Challenge Classics
Description: Genin's powerful, serious cycle of seven pieces takes its title, and those of its individual movements, from a Shakespeare sonnet, a kind of poetic equivalent of the 'vanity' still life paintings of the old masters, full of imagery of the inexorable passage of time, and decay. The music is thus, not unexpectedly, somber in tone, though varied in character from piece to piece, with the fourth piece, for example, based around a melancholy little waltz, a sad, distant memory of youthful beauty and pleasures. The sixth, and longest, piece, 'Time's Thievish Progress' - unremittingly bleak, with episodes of vehement protest - seems to sum up the whole cycle. Genin was Sviridov's pupil, and the music shares the senior composer's muscular, energetic, frequently ostinato-driven approach to the instrument, as well as his tonal vocabulary, traceable in lineage to Shostakovich. As Sviridov was able to adapt his teacher's idiom to an idiomatically individual one, redolent of his own personality and ideas, so the same may be said of Genin, making these fine, highly pianistic works feel like the legitimate continuation of a fruitful tradition of very Russian sentiment, forcefully expressed in eloquent musical terms. In what one would like to believe to be a wry comment on the ultimate futility of measuring the inevitable passage of time, but is more likely a printer's error, the booklet lists the track timings as meaningless symbols (the whole work is a little under an hour). Olga Domnina (piano).