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4.0 out of 5 stars underheard 20thC "mecanique" nuggets, 29 Sep 2011
This review is from: Mosolov:Prokofiev:Varese (Audio CD)
on this cd. three key 1920 s works by :

Mosolov - Iron Foundry
Prokofiev - Symphony NO.3
Varese - Arcana

for myself - as a keen fan of Russian 20th C music + art , i have been lookg for works by original heir to the Russian avante-garde, Alexander Mosolov (1900-1973) whose short work : "Zavod-Iron Foundry" is a key work formed by the emerging brutal industrialist modernism + factory-noise of the expanding industrial world of the 1920's. "Iron Foundry" predates Shostakovich + Prokofiev's forays into the Soviet world of exploratory new music celebrating (or otherwise) the new world order as it was then. its a short (just 3.36 minutes) propulsive work predating the for example German industrial noise music scene by some fifty years in its use of sheets of metal in the music making. you really should hear it. a little similar to Stravinskys notorious "Rite of Spring" in its use of "barbaric" rhythms at the expense of melody, tunes + other "outdated" notions of music. this is idealistic yet brutal sounding music formed in the heat of the foundry not the salon parlour. Mosolv's piano works+ first string quartet are similarly challenging yet arrestingly original works.

Prokofiev's 3rd Symphony is up next + shares his familar use of arresting use of traditonal symphonic form combined with his preference for sharp contrasts + use of rhythm. the Symphony no.3 is very good but can't compete with Mosolo or Varese for sheer trailblazing originality. in less original company - many would find the 3rd Symphony pretty challenging. here it sounds pretty conventional in this company, where Prokofiev attempted to marry traditional symphonic writing + expressive methods to the propulsice dissonances of the emerging factory age. a fine work all the same.

final piece is by underground favourite - french/US composer Edgard Varese namely one of his landmark works : Arcana. championed by Boulez et al for many years (i also have Boulez conducting the piece on Sony also, but i prefer Chailly's more expressive reading here) it is arguably the most fully realised work here. written for huge orchestral forces,its use of unusual sonorities ,dissonances + textures : its not an easy on the ear piece (nothing on this cd except for parts of the Prokofiev actually are) , but is undeniably exciting, original + like Mosolov, showed the way forward for a whole host of music genres later in the century. the ending into silence is a powerful full stop to a key work.

the prices for this cd + Svetlanov in particular are pretty exorbitant at present, but some kind music fans have posted these works on YouTube, if you blanch at the stiff current prices. a cheaper option is the mp3 download or the "Russian Futurism" cd series (on arte nova) should also be investigated for fans of such arresting early 20th C music. the Decca recording here has a characteristically full range dynamic + clarity with Riccardo Chailly + the Royal Concertegebouw Orchestra in fine form. i would like at some point to compare this to the potentially more exacting reading by Svetlanov of Mosolov's other works on Melodiya also.
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by Chailly (Audio CD - 1994)
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