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Cat. No. CHAN 9881 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9881 - Roslavets: Cello Sonatas
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Available From: 15 January 2001
Called ‘the Russian Schoenberg’ by the critic Evgeny Braudo, Roslavets was certainly a very Russian composer. His music, original and unusual even today, is in many respects related to the special post-Romantic world of his older contemporary Alexander Scriabin. Roslavets’s innovative ‘synthetic chord’ (though similar to Scriabin’s ’Prometheus chord’) is an early example of serial technique. The synthetic chord is a chord and a tone row at the same time and the only difference between this chord and Schoenberg’s tone row is that Roslavets never uses it to derive a ‘tune’ or a musical theme.

Roslavet’s musical forms are free and rhapsodic, yet he shaped his compositions very carefully; the cello sonatas give an excellent example of his economical and rationally concise approach to musical form. The Cello Sonata No. 1 is a rather short but highly condensed work in a single movement. Like Webern, Roslavets shapes the form by using the same thematic cells in different contexts. The Cello Sonata No. 2, again a work in a single movement, develops similar principles but on a larger scale. The themes and sections of the work are now much more contrasted. Roslavets is more revolutionary: cello and piano interact in a detailed polyphonic texture, both parts requiring great virtuosity from the performers.

Meditation is a more congenial piece to play and is in simple ternary form, the middle section a fugato involving both instruments. Dance of the White Girls is a typical impressionist piece in the manner of Debussy and similar to Roslavets’s Nocturne for five instruments composed at around the same time (1913). The Five Preludes for piano are the finest of Roslavets’s compositions for this instrument, clearly developing ideas found in Scriabin’s Five Preludes, Op. 74.

‘Alexander Ivashkin is a first-rate cellist…’
Hi-Fi News & Record Review on CHAN 9705 (Schnittke)

‘…Alexander Ivashkin makes the most of [the Cello Concerto’s] lyrical qualities. He is well supported by Valeri Polyansky and the orchestra…’
Gramophone on CHAN 9559 (Grechaninov)


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