Has Myaskovsky’s time come at last?
Myaskovsy (1881–1950) is probably one of the most neglected symphonists of
the 20th century. Like so many Russian composers of that era, he at first
started on a military career but, despite this, in 1903 he managed to undertake
study in harmony with Glière. By the spring of 1907, Myaskovsky left the army
and entered the St Petersburg Conservatory where he met Prokofiev who became a
By the summer of 1908 Myaskovsky had completed his first
symphony, a form that would be his main source of expression for the rest of
his life. He went on to write twenty seven symphonies as well as thirteen
string quartets, nine piano sonatas, two cello sonatas, various orchestral
works and choral works.
The symphonies had a long time becoming available on disc, with
Olympia making the first attempt before they went out of business. The remaining
Svetlanov recordings not issued by Olympia became available on the Alto label (available
through Amazon www.amazon.co.uk) before Warner Classics issued the whole cycle in a box set. www.warnerclassics.com
Perhaps Myaskovsky’s time has finally come as on Monday 9th July 2012 at 4.05pm
BBC Radio 3 is broadcasting a performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra of his
Symphony No.13 in B flat major. Nothing particularly surprising in that you
may say but the conductor is listed as no other than Oliver Knussen that champion of modern music. www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/programmes/schedules/2012/w28/grid
I hope that this heralds more performances of his music and
in particular the fabulous sixth symphony which is possibly his masterpiece.
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