David's Review Corner
, September 2020
This sixth instalment, in a Naxos series that is bringing together the symphonic music of Azerbaijani composers, returns to the Twentieth century of Fikret Amirov.
Born in 1922, his mature education introduced him to the era of highly coloured scores from Rimsky-Korsakov and Russia’s ‘Mighty Handful’ of composers, a fact that becomes immediately evident at the outset of his 1941 Symphony. It was written to mark the 800th anniversary of the birth of Nizami Ganjavi, the Muslim poet who lived in that part of the world we now know as Azerbaijan. Scored for strings, and in four movements, it is an example of writing ‘modern’ music in a purely tonal idiom, the powerful opening Allegro setting a scene of sombre sadness, while the second movement is cast as a gentle oriental dance. There is a return to out-flowing sadness in the Third, the short finale in the style of Khachaturian that continues in the Suite from Amirov’s ballet, ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. Highly charged and virtuoso score, there is plenty for the timpani and percussion department to inject a ‘spicy’ East European mode, the rhythms often taking an unexpected shift, I guess, on stage, the whole ballet is a brilliant spectacle. Both works are performed by the Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony, an orchestra formed by outstanding young musicians from the Ukraine. They are obviously enjoying working with the Russian conductor, Dmitry Yablonsky, in a highly detailed and transparent recording. Unusual music from Amirov, and I commend it to you. © 2020 David’s Review Corner