David's Review Corner
, August 2019
Sergey Taneyev had little in common with his contemporaries’ interest in musical nationalism, realism or even in fairy-tale fantasy, leaving him an isolated composer.
He had been a pupil of Tchaikovsky and was to become the composition mentor of many famous names, including Rachmaninov and Scriabin, though at heart he remained a musical conservative. His sizeable library of works covered everything from opera to solo instrumental scores, but, as he lived into the twentieth century, he added nothing to the progressive aspects that were overtaking Russian music. So it was that in 1909, when he came to write the Suite de Concert, he shaped it in the style of a Baroque suite in five movements, with a Theme and Variations at its heart. Tchaikovsky’s influences do surface in the virtuoso writing for the soloist, particularly in the grandiose opening Prelude and the dexterity required for the Gavotte, the Presto finale using the Tarantella dance. Much though I enjoy and promote Taneyev, his problem was finding thematic material that would readily reside in your memory, pleasing though this work proves to be. Twenty-two years earlier Rimsky-Korsakov had completed his Fantasia on two Russian Themes, and whatever their source, they offer the soloist a goodly measure of technical showmanship, the orchestral part coming as an attractive backdrop. All of this bodes well the young American multi-award winning soloist, Annelle Gregory, with the opportunity to strut her brilliance and sweet toned quality in the upper reaches. She is well supported by the chamber sized Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony from the Ukraine, under the sure-handed guidance of their Music Director, Dmitry Yablonsky, one of Naxos’s most frequent recording artists. So snap up two coupled rarities. © 2019 David’s Review Corner