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Music of Vladimir Martynov

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Jan. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00656URJ2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,651 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song Title Time Price
  1. Vladimir Martynov: The Beatitudes 5:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Vladimir Martynov: Schubert-Quintet [Unfinished]: Movement I12:01Album Only
  3. Vladimir Martynov: Schubert-Quintet [Unfinished]: Movement II11:07Album Only
  4. Vladimir Martynov: Der Abschied39:55Album Only

Product Description

The album includes three works written or rescored for Kronos, the San Francisco-based string quartet, by the contemporary Russian composer Vladimir Martynov: "The Beatitudes" (1998, rescored for Kronos in 2006), Schubert–Quintet (Unfinished) (2009), and Der Abschied (2006). Kronos’ artistic director and founder David Harrington says Martynov’s music “straddles various points of musical history and time".

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MusicMyLife on 26 May 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
According to Vladimir Martynov the classical tradition has been exhausted, all has been said, and after the introduction of 20th century techniques, all has been tried. No use inventing something new. The present day composer is more of a mediator than creator and therefore can feel free to dig in the rich past and use as he pleases. Like in the old days one quoted freely from folk songs and hymns, one can now also fall back on classical works. Martynovs music, whether it be for piano, string orchestra or chorus, is largely tonal and romantic, though he isn't shy of a dissonant or modernism. It is usually built from small blocks - a simple motif, a quote - that is repeated over and over, looked at from all angles. Not so much the American interpretation of minimalism where layers shift and variations take over, here the variations are hardly noticeable, the accent is on the repetition itself. The block acts like a mantra, the endless repetitions of it make it into a meditation, drawing the listener beyond the music, shutting him off from the outside world. On the other hand this can make for a trying experience if you want to listen to the music for music's sake; expecting virtuoso solo's or surprising melodic developments. Not that they are not there, but sparsely, especially so on present cd. Here he has taken his manifesto to the extreme, the main parts of the works being soft in volume, slow and extremely repetitious, nearly impersonal.
Opener The Beautitudes perfectly sets the mood, actually sums up all the features mentioned: repetitions ebb and swell, ebb and swell, and before you know it is over.
Not so in The Schubert-Quintet [Unfinished], where there is an opportunity for Joan Jeanrenaud to team up with her former Kronos' mates. It takes Schubert's style as its lead.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A Composer Unfamiliar to Me, Beautifully Rendered 8 Feb. 2012
By Douglas Weaver - Published on
Format: Audio CD
"The Beatitudes" is a passacalia of simple beauty over which a Russian folk-style melody spins out in subtle variation. It's as immediately appealing as the Pachelbel Canon (a passacalia also), and I've never heard the Kronos play with such sumptuous tonal beauty.

The "Schubert Quintet" is a nod to the great Schubert C major quintet (one of my favorite pieces), but is an original composition. It's more hard-edged, with a relentless octaves motif that is passed among the five players (Joan Jeanrenaud joins Kronos as the additional cello for this piece). It's got dramatic pauses, and lulling interludes, then returns to the driving motif again and again. It's emotional world reminds me of the "Death and the Maiden" quartet. It's a beguiling homage to Schubert in that I can here Schubert's sound world and emotional world, but it is not imitative.

The final piece, "Der Abschied" is heartbreaking--a long slow good-bye to a loved one, not a tragedy, but the inevitability of losing those we love. This is communicated via a breath-motive that varies, slows, gains strength, slows and weakens further. If you've been at that bedside of a loved one, you'll recognize what you're hearing.

A note on the recording quality: Nonesuch has allowed a bit more space and ambiance in this recording and it's beautiful--not as dry or closely miked as the Kronos Quartet sometimes is recorded. I've always been partial to Kronos's recordings that cover a single composer (like Riley, Glass, Volens, Schnittke), and this has become one of my all-time favorites of theirs.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Power of Musical Repetition 18 Jan. 2012
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Eastern spiritual musical devices of mantra-like repetitions and extended space between notes, from Hindustani bhajans to Japanese gagaku to Russian orthodox liturgy, had entered Western classical music in several waves. Tchaikovsky's and some Bruckner symphonies are filled with elaborations of repeated phrases, Morton Feldman opens up to those pregnant silences between brief phrases, and pulsing appegios figure in early American minimalism of Glass and Reich. Martynov carries on the style, versed in both classical and Russian Orthodox music. His Beatitudes, track 1, a reworking for quartet, is outgoing sweet and, well, blissful, and his Schubert-like quintet has the Romantic harmonies and moods of the old master but also strong rhythmic repetitions of riffs. These tracks, too, are light and enjoyable and are in reference to the String Quintet in C major with two cellos, here with the added performance of former Kronos member Joan Jeanrenaud. The final track takes a turn to somber darkness. Der Abschied (The Farewell) is in remembrance of the composer's dying father. Repetition soon takes on a breathlike effect and elegiac Mahlerian harmonies and styles (and actual quotes from Das Lied von der Erde) arise as the hard breathing slows, gasps, and fades. It is a powerful introspective work. Thus, Martynov's compositions blend the past with the new, the classical West with the spiritual East. The Kronos Quartet play with their usual sensitive brilliance.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Luminous Beauty of Vladimir Martynov 8 Feb. 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
For some strange reason the music of Vladimir Martynov has essentially eluded most US concert halls. For many this incredibly beautiful recording by the Kronos Quartet will correct that. It has been three years since the last recording from this premiere ensemble and so it is more than a welcome return, especially considering the selection programmed.

At bit of history is probably essential to understand the unique voice of Martynov: `Vladimir Martynov is a Russian composer, born 1946 in Moscow, known for his music in the Concerto, Orchestral Music, Chamber Music and Choral Music genres. He is a leader of the generation of composers of the Soviet Union, born after World War II, who pursued avant-garde courses at a time when official disfavor of such styles brought severe penalties to career development, but did not carry the physical risks of earlier years in the USSR. He studied piano as a child and gained an interest in composition. Vladimir Martynov enrolled in the Moscow Conservatory where he studied piano under Mikhail Mezhlumov and composition under Nikolai Sidelnikov, graduating in 1971. In his early works Martynov used serial music (or twelve-tone) technique. In 1973 he got a job at the studio for electronic music of the Alexander Scriabin Museum. For Soviet composers of this era, this studio had much the same meaning as the RAI Electronic Music Studio in Milan, the West German Radio studio, and the ORTF Studio in Paris, providing a meeting ground for the avant-garde musicians. Sofia Gubaidulina, Sergei Nemtin, Alfred Schnittke, and Edison Denisov were among the composers regularly working and meeting there. Vladimir Martynov is also known as a serious ethnomusicologist, specializing the music of the Caucasian peoples, Tajikistan, and other ethnic groups in Russia. He also studied medieval Russian and European music, as well as religious musical history and musicology. While even at Soviet times this field of study was considered generally acceptable, it also allowed him to study theology, religious philosophy and history. He began studying early Russian religious chant in the late 1970s; he also studied Renaissance music of such composers as Machaut, Gabrieli, Isaac, Dufay, and Dunstable, publishing editions of their music. He became interested in the brand of minimalism developing in the Soviet Union in the late 1970s: a static, spiritually-inspired style without the shimmering pulse of American minimalism. The timeless quality of chants and the lack of a sense of bar lines in Renaissance polyphony entered into his version of minimalism. At about this time, he began teaching at the Academy of Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Sergiyev Posad. There was a period of consolidation in the early 1980s where he wrote music specifically tailored for use in church services, then resuming writing original music in his minimalist style. Among his works from this period is Come in! for violin and ensemble of 1988 which was performed by Gidon Kremer and by the composer's partner, Tatiana Grindenko. 'Since the fall of the Soviet Union, he has written works that take on large Christian themes. One of his major compositions is a nearly hour-long piece called Opus Posthumum (1993), devoted to the idea that "a man touches the truth twice. The first time is the first cry from a newborn baby's lips and the last is the death rattle. Everything between is untruth to a greater or lesser extent." Vladimir Martynov authors several books and seminal articles on musical theory, history and philosophy of music.'

The three pieces included in this recording are `The Beatitudes' (1998, rescored for Kronos, 2006), `Schubert-Quintet (Unfinished)' (2009), and `Der Abschied" (2006). Martynov blends both the classical style and Russian Orthodox music with all of the Eastern influences that suggests. `The Beatitudes' are as gentle and ethereal as some of Mahler's slow movements. The reconfiguration of the Schubert Quintet (Joan Jeanrenaud makes a welsome return as the second cello) at once recalls Schubert but places him in that minimalist scale.

For this listener the final work `Der Abscheid' after Mahler is the most significant and deeply moving work on this recording. Not only does Matrynov quote moments from Mahler's final song (from `Das Lied von der Erde') as the singer's part but he also extracts orchestral lines and embellishes them producing a long, gently sad farewell: it was written after the death of the composer's father.

This is one of the more important recordings released this year. The Kronos Quartet is back and that alone is reason for rejoicing. But it be introduced to the music of Vladimir Martynov as it is performed here is an unexpected joy. Grady Harp, February 12
Beautiful Beatitudes 13 May 2015
By ptdojaica - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Beatitudes is one of the most beautiful pieces of contemporary music that I have ever heard! The other pieces are more challenging but the CD is worth it to hear the Beatitudes.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Stunning 8 Mar. 2014
By Kathleen - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Music to live with. Kronos brings its usual perfection to the music and Martynov has somehow heard perfection itself. Stunning.
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