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"Last Seasons / Black Square" 2001 Print
"Last Seasons / Black Square" eng "LAST SEASONS" (CCn'C) GERMANY 2001

Records International Catalogue October 2001, Mikhail Chekalin (b.1959) "Last Seasons / Black Square" CCn'C 01612 (Germany)

As a follow-up to their recent, fascinating Martynov release, the CCn'C label now gives us music by a composer whose compositions were acclaimed by Moscow underground intellectuals during the repressive Soviet years. Last Seasons, written in 1997-1998, is for chamber orchestra. It inhabits a sound world all of its own, but at times it will remind you of Ives's Unanswered Question, minus the interrogatory trumpet, and Schnittke's more subdued, mystical works. Dating from 1996, Black Square is actually a concerto grosso for full orchestra. Again a mystical quality prevails, but its presto movement could almost be out of a Khachaturian ballet. All who loved the Martynov release or have a penchant for the sublime and mysterious are encouraged to try this CD. Moscow Chamber Music Orchestra; Vladislav Bulakhov. Grand State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg; Alexander Polischuk.

"MIKHAIL CHEKALIN (1959) belongs to a generation of Russian musicians to whom "Glasnost" meant an enormous relief from a depressing time of isolation. After having studied piano, composition and choir directing at the university of music and Gnesin Institute in Moscow Chekalin made his appearance as a keyboarder in the rock band "Samozvetin" (the Russian "Stones"). Starting his own little studio for "Electronic Music and Light Dynamics" enabled him to compose in his style and manifest his own ideas. His electronic compositions for Multimedia-Events and theatres were ignored by the official cultural administration and at the same time suspiciously watched by the KGB. But they became more and more famous and acclaimed in the Moscow underground scene of the "non-official Soviet art". Chekalin's important works of the early 80ties are collected on "Night Pulsation", Erdenklang Label 30632. In total he has produced and released 25 longplays and CDs. Chekalin considers his "electronic phase" as an intense training to integrate many different styles into a dynamic flow. The connection to modern classical music has been always important for him. Now, in "Last Seasons" and "Black Square" - the latter one had its premiere in 1997 in the sold out Shostakovich Concert Hall in St. Petersburg - Chekalin's heartfelt connection can bloom and flower in a classical orchestral presentation. Chekalin: "A powerful stream proceeding, say, from Prokofiev to Part..." Chekalin represents the mystical tradition of musical composition: timeless avantgarde striving for the essence of life and music, seeking their inner connection. This streak is typical for many Russian composers: Mussorgsky, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov. They all put the deeper meaning of their music above any trendy techniques. They are traditional in the sense that for them music is still beyond the world. Christian Salvesen
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