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I - Ustvolskaya*, Schönberg Ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw - Compositions I, II, III


1995
Label: Philips - 442 532-2 • Format: CD • Country: Europe • Genre: Classical • Style: Modern
Download I - Ustvolskaya*, Schönberg Ensemble, Reinbert de Leeuw - Compositions I, II, III

I - Ustvolskaya* Ustvolskaya is a Russian in her mid-seventies, a pupil of Shostakovich, but her music no more resembles his than it does her younger compatriots, Schnittke, Denisov and Gubaidulina. It is marked by strong religious belief and by a liking for material and for sounds that are harsh, declamatory and violent. These three pieces were written in close succession in the early s and are designed as a cycle; the composer expresses a preference that II be performed in church, ''without academic introductions and analyses''.

Reinbert de Leeuw - Compositions I minute Composition No. The material throughout is of extreme simplicity, but don't let the subtitles fool you into expecting a sort of dulcet 'faith minimalism'.

The repetitions here are often brutal, the melodic writing is usually confined to an obsessive, chant-like exploration of very few notes, the rhythmic tread is heavy and the level of Schönberg Ensemble the piano is used mainly as III percussion instrument, producing dense or bell-like clusters is high.

The rationale for this in a plea for peace or a reflection on the Day of Judgement is obvious, but there is no explosion of radiance or joy to Ustvolskaya's Benedictusan austere processional of gritty chords centred on a two-note ostinato which only towards the very end achieves a grey and ascetic lyricism; Ustvolskaya's religion clearly offers little in the way of easy comfort.

Some of the most brutally barbaric music here is marked in the score espressivo or even espressivissimo. One of the essays in the accompanying booklet calls her ''the woman with the hammer'', referring no doubt to the ferocious belabourings of that wooden box in the central panel of this triptych.

A woman with a flail, perhaps: her music has a pitilessly austere ferocity, like a religious ritual Motherfucker Rising - Druglord - Motherfucker Rising in an Schönberg Ensemble tongue. But it is strongly individual, and communicates very eloquently.

Another of the Schönberg Ensemble notes speaks of Ustvolskaya rediscovering the basic elements of music before civilization refined them and says that the result is ''discomforting, and therefore rejuvenating''.

To those who have surfeited on more comfortable manifestations of minimalism it may perhaps be bracing, those who share Ustvolskaya's severe piety I - Ustvolskaya* respond to it, but to me the savage insistence of this music is rather like a hell-fire sermon: stern, cold and dismaying.

The performances seem very faithful, the recordings were made, as the composer asks, in a church. If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information. Skip to main content. Composer or Director:. Galina Ivanova Ustvol'skaya. Magazine Review Date:. Como Tú - Basilio - Basilio Format:. Catalogue Number:.

Composition Artist Credits Composition No. Galina Ivanova Ustvol'skaya Composer. Composition No. Follow us. Digital Edition. Digital Archive. Gramophone's expert reviews easier than ever before. Whether you want to see what we think of today's latest releases or discover what Schönberg Ensemble critics thought of your favourite recordings from the past, you will find it all in our full-searchable Reviews Database.

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