Alexander Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Music Volume One
Label: TOCCATA CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
Vasiliev, Dmitry; Siberian Symphony Orchestra
The Muscovite Alexander Tchaikovsky (b. 1946) – nephew of Boris Tchaikovsky but no relative to Pyotr Ilich – is one of the most highly respected composers at work in Russia today, and yet his music has had little exposure to western audiences. His symphonic style owes something to that of his uncle: it likewise patiently develops enormous power over large expanses of sound, although there is also room for gently ironic touches of nostalgia – an inheritance, perhaps, from his uncle’s teacher, Shostakovich. The monumental Third Symphony (1995–2002), scored for a huge orchestra, is infused with dance rhythms: it uses material from an abandoned ballet based on Dostoyevsky’s The Devils. The Seventh Symphony is very much a work de nos jours: Tchaikovsky composed it during the Covid-19 pandemic, scored it for a socially distanced orchestra of strings, percussion and piano – at which point, as he writes, ‘the virus then took revenge’, and he fell ill himself. The message of the work is clear, as the turmoil of the first movement gives way to a message of hope in the second.