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Tishchenko - Symphony No 7 CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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  • Orchestra: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Dmitry Yablonsky
  • Composer: Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko
  • Audio CD (28 Jun. 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0002BXO32
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,725 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is much to enjoy in this symphony but I've taken one star away because the a sound quality of the live recording is not great and I think the symphony lasts a little too long. Tishchenko has a habit of taking a catchy theme and repeating too often in different harmonic and orchestral guises - it smacks of string out his material a little too far at times.

Having said that, I enjoyed it very much. There is a spirit of a manic, drunk Shostakovich in the first two movements - sounding like a jovial and at the same time bitter celebration. The following two movements seem to cover the same ground for too long and the finale brings the work to a positive climax - again, perhaps labouring over the main theme a little too long.

Tishchenko was a Shostakovich pupil and there is much that sounds like early Shostakovich mixed with a little Schnittke along the way. The first movements begins in whimsical fashion but soon becomes more bitter and antagonistic before building to a rather drunken (on a scale of two bottles of vodka)and surreal climax. The following scherzo dances with manic abandon and increasing grotesquerie (if there is such a word). You wonder just who's party this movement is depicting.

The first slow movement recites a slightly folksy lament that is repeated with a more sarcastic edge as if this lament is a hollow gesture. There's more than a hint of a "morning after the night before" from the previous movements! The second slow movement seems to me to be one too many before the finale blows away the gloom even if it quietly introduces themeses that will dominate the finale.

Tishchenko doesn't have the most individual musical voice - it often sounds very self consciously like early Shostakovich with the bitterness of his later works thrown in - but there is plenty sincere expression shining through a work that doesn't pull its punches.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tishchenko is the most significant composer to emerge from Russia post-Shostakovich. His 7th symphony is brilliant, entertaining, dark and humorous, manic and beautiful. I was blown away by on hearing this for the first time. Now that I have the orchestral score from Ruslania - at a mere €15 - I am astounded by the virtuosity of this performance. The seamless move from strict metrical notation to improvisation combined with the complex rhythms delight and astonish at the same time. If you can read music buy the score as well. You will be rewarded. I can't wait for his 8th symphony to appear, which is apparently on the cards.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a1bd7bc) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a16f918) out of 5 stars Immediately Likeable, and It Repays Closer Listening 18 Sept. 2004
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I was unprepared to like this Symphony quite as much as I did. The only thing I had known about Boris Tishchenko (b. 1939) was that he was reportedly 'Shostakovich's favorite pupil' and I had once heard part of his Second Violin Concerto on the radio and noted the similarity with Shostakovich's style. Somehow in my mind I had relegated him to epigonic status and hadn't sought his music out as a result. My first time through this CD, which contains a live 2002 performance of his Symphony No. 7 (written in 1994), I was immediately attracted to the brio and raffish good humor of the quicker movements. On repeated listening I have come to admire greatly Tishchenko's assurance, his sense of form, his terrific rhythmic sense (and quite expert use of percussion), his masterful counterpoint and, not least, his ability to write memorable tunes.

Dmitry Yablonsky, a conductor whose work I've come in recent times to admire greatly, leads the Moscow Philharmonic who give him their all in an audibly committed performance. I want to single out for praise the percussion section, and particularly the orchestral pianist and xylophonist who really show their chops in the second movement.

This is a five-movement work lasting about 53 minutes, symmetric in its arch-form layout. I and V are related, as are II and IV. III stands in the center as the emotional core of the work. In I there are frenetic and mocking trombone smears, in II some of the most exciting symphonic jazz piano since Bernstein's 'Age of Anxiety' Symphony, although in this movement the barreling piano is accompanied by a silly-sounding xylophone, a strange but exhilarating (and Shostakovian) combination. No matter how many times I hear that section I smile. One thing about Tishchenko, whose harmonic language is quite similar to Shostakovich's in that it never departs significantly from tonality, is that even in his darkest moments, as in III, a sardonic smile is never far away. There is ghostly trudging in III leavened by masterful dissonant counterpoint that builds to a wrenching climax, only to implode into a half-wistful, half-smiling conclusion. IV again features ghostly but graceful strings and muted brass in a theme that is used both as a chorale and in a fugato passage; the overall effect is a wistful gimpy dance. V features some of the wildest, throbbingest percussion writing I've heard since Shostakovich's Fifth. The forward motion is compelling: one doesn't know whether to skip or run or dance wildly with arms waving. Shostakovian piccolos coupled with a tom-tom tattoo are prominent.

Shostakovich is not the only influence one hears in this music; there are a Mahlerian cuckoo and Wozzeckian dance-hall music in I, traces of Bartók in ghostly, half-overheard passages in II, III and IV, American jazz and the spare harmonies of Copland here and there; Prokofiev's sweet-tart harmonies in V; a Debussyan Gollywog cakewalk in II. Yet, the whole thing hangs together.

This release makes me want to seek out more music by Tishchenko. I think I may have been missing something up to now.


An easy recommendation to the mildly adventurous, lovers of Shostakovich, and those for whom tonality is still a requisite in contemporary music.

Scott Morrison
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a29a828) out of 5 stars The Best Work of the Post-Soviet period 30 Jan. 2005
By paulusrex - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It was hard for me

to write this review

without mentioning

Beethoven or Shostakovich.

Boris Tishchenko, here has

written a symphony as joyful

as Beethoven's seventh; but

in the vein of his teacher,

Dmitri Shostakovich.

The opening of the works

as ironic as the opening of

Shostakovich's 9th symphony.

The piano and xylophone solos,

bring to mind the ballet-suites

of Shostakovich.Also in the second

movement the solo for tom-toms brings

to mind the solo for that instrument

in Shostakovich's 14th symphony.The

general mood of the work is joyful

and sentimental, which make it so

diferent to many of the post-soviet

works of our age. This is the

world premiere recording of

the work and it was recorded live

at the legendary great hall

of the Moscow Conservatory, in

2002. Dmitri Yablonsky and the

Moscovites do a wonderful work...

My favorite work of the post-soviet period!!!!!

Well, done Mr. Tishchenko...
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d7d9ccc) out of 5 stars Russian Music That's Actually Fun! 19 Mar. 2005
By Christopher Forbes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Russian music, like Russian literature, has a propensity for darkness. Perhaps it's the winters, or the lack of light in the northern clime, or the long and torturous history of the "suffering Russian people" but most of the country's greatest music has a dark heart as epitomized by the tragedy of Tchaikovsky's great symphonies, the dark drama of Mussorgsky's operas, and particularly the bitter irony and death obsessed music of Shostakovitch. Since the death of Shostakovitch several composers have been crowned as his successor, chief among them Schnittke and Boris Tishchenko. Tishchenko in particular has the distinction of being the composer's favorite student in the 1960s. But where most of the heirs to Shostkovitch seem to have inherited the Russian master's darkly pessimistic outlook and bitterness, Tishchenko has inherited the older master's sense of fun, and even developed that sense further.

The Seventh Symphony was written in 1994 and is one of the first major symphonic statements by a composer after the fall of communism. While for other composers, the collapse of the Soviet system allowed for a deeper spirituality or a more modernist musical expression, for Tishchenko it's allowed him to discover something that was never looked upon with much favor by the soviets, a sense of humor. The work is divided into five movements, four fast movements surrounding a central slow movement in an arch-like form. In each of the fast movements elements of western popular music coincide with light hearted motives that suggest Shostakovitch at his bad-boy best from the 1920s. The writing is brilliant and full of good humor. Particularly striking is the ragtime dance that makes up the second movement. But for all the relationship in this music to Shostakovitch works like the Age of Gold ballet, this is not mere imitation. Tishchenko is an individual composer with his own voice. His music is basically tonal, characterized by memorable themes and rhythmic vitality. But it is decidedly polytonal and often harmonically adventurous. However, even the most dissonant sections never lose the sense of humor and fun that characterize this symphony and make the entire work an enjoyable and fresh musical experience, one that I hope to return to frequently.

This work is highly recommended for fans of good modern music. It is fun, and tonal, but also intellectually stimulating. It is no mere trifle. The performance, a live recording by Dmitry Yablonsky and the Moscow Philharmonic, is assured and exciting. Kudos to Naxos for continuing to find and champion excellent lesser known ensembles performing the work of deserving modern composers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a16f984) out of 5 stars A very approachable modern symphony 18 Sept. 2007
By David Ashworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you like the symphonies of Shostakovich and have an adventurous spirit then I would urge you to try this exciting modern work. It does not belong to the squeaky gate, barbed wire sound, one usually associates with modern music, listening to it is a very rewarding experience. It is very well played and recorded and at Naxos prices it is a real bargain my only regret is that there are so few recordings of this composers works available. Well done Naxos Five stars
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a29c138) out of 5 stars A magnificent work 30 Jun. 2010
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One to blow you away! If you are on the lookout for a post-Shostakovichian symphonic tradition, there is actually much to choose from. Little of it reaches the quality of Boris Tishchenko's seventh, however. Tishchenko (b. 1939) himself emphasizes the influence of Shostakovich but while the connections are obvious, Tishchenko doesn't really sound that much like Shostakovich. As a pointer to his style, think late Shostakovich or Vainberg, but eschewing the slow, brooding music - Tishchenko's music is driven, energetic, powerful, often fast and often spitefully sardonic (but sometimes genuinely optimistic as well). His ideas are often strikingly memorable; they are developed with ingenuity and the music is always superbly scored.

The seventh symphony opens pastorally, but the nightmarish undercurrents seem just a second away from bubbling to the surface - and indeed, Tishchenko subtly alters the mood to something menacingly urgent by just a few rhythmic twists. From there on, the dark, haunted and sarcastic music pours forth, often erupting in almost maniacal intensity with much use of percussion. Still, the music isn't all darkness throughout - much of it is genuinely joyful and buoyant, if in a somewhat raucous manner; and it holds together surprisingly well.

But I'll refrain from trying to describe it completely - if the style appeals you are very strongly encouraged to check it out yourself. The performance by the Moscow Philharmonic under Dmitry Yablonsky is ferocious and powerful even if there are parts where the music stretches the players to their limits and beyond. The sound quality is generally clear and full. A superb release, strongly recommended.
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