VALENTIN SILVESTROV (b.1937): Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5.
Catalogue Number: 03L098
Description: These impressive symphonies from 1976 and the beginning of the '80s respectively, mark the phase of Silvestrov's career after he turned from strident modernism toward a greater acknowledgement of the rich traditions that preceded him; arguably the most satisfying and emotionally complex stage of his output to date. The single span of the Fourth has long-breathed melodic echoes of Shostakovich, jagged toccata-figuration that suggests Prokofiev, hints of Mahlerian brass motifs, and a recurring theme of massive and harmonically immobile granitic block chords. A kind of somber tranquility is achieved in a central slow section, but this is swept away by a recurrence of turbulent material, and the final resolution of the work subsides into gloom. The larger and even more ambitious Fifth, also in one movement, takes this sense of Romantic-era striving and turmoil even farther. The piece begins in a kind of cosmic chaos, dark and dissonant and quite apparently derived from the then recently reconstructed Mysterium of Scriabin. This sends shockwaves throughout the entire work, while slowly, elements of melody and a more consoling, consonant harmony start to emerge, with echoes of the opening constantly resonating in the background. Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste.