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The Music of Vladimir Martynov


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Audio CD, January 10, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Their first release since 2009, The Music of Vladimir Martynov includes three works written for Kronos by the leading Russian composer: "The Beatitudes" (1998, rescored for Kronos, 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; the music seems to me to reflect and absorb humanity in such a beautiful way."


Born in Moscow in 1946, Martynov was the son of a well-known musicologist and writer. He studied music from a young age and attended the Conservatory before expanding his musical pursuits beyond the traditional classical canon and into folk songs, early music, avant-garde, rock, and electronic music. In 1979, he entered the Spiritual Academy at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, where he worked on preserving and restoring traditional Russian Orthodox chant. He returned to composition in the 1990s with a new style that combined the traditions of American minimalism with the repetitive chant of Russian Orthodoxy.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Vladimir Martynov: The Beatitudes 5:26$1.29  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 Details

  • Audio CD (January 10, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00656URJ2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,217 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Weaver on February 7, 2012
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.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 18, 2012
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.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2012
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.
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By ptdojaica on May 13, 2015
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.
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