Those captivated by the early Pavlova symphony discs need have no misgivings. The style is of a piece with the other symphonies—fresh chapters of a book we are familiar with and retaining that capacity to move.
Of this work [Seventh Symphony] Pavlova says that it is a synthesis of symphonic and string concerto genres. The mood is overwhelmingly meditative. A crude approximation of what to expect is something between the slow reflective music of the Glass Violin Concerto, Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs and the Violin Concertos of Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. In the third of the three movements a more urgent pulse is found but, even so, much of this speaks ineluctably of a delight in melody. The composer says of the Eighth Symphony that it is “in its own way” her “personal Ode to Joy”. The single-movement piece is of about the same length as one movement of the Seventh. It is more clamorous in mood than most of its predecessor. The music is tinged with anxiety and tragedy but calm serenity is in the ascendant—rather like the closing ten minutes of Allan Pettersson’s Seventh Symphony: tranquillity after trauma. The final pages are bathed in an uncannily Tchaikovskian rampant passion. That said, serenity finally conquers all and the solo violin again presides as sincere cantor…as bringer of peace of mind. The musical and therapeutic values are inextricably linked. These two symphonies have an urgent emotional eloquence typical of this composer.