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Symphony 6

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, November 6, 2007
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Andantino - Vivace - Allegretto
  2. Allegro Moderato - Commodo
  3. Andantino - Animato - Adagio - Moderato - Andante
  4. Intermezzo. Larghetto
  5. Vivace Con Moto - Larghetto


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mdg
  • ASIN: B000W32V66
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,013 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By the early 1980s, after an early career as a serialist and a long hiatus, Valentin Silvestrov had developed a highly individual style. The Ukrainian composer was doubtful about the ability to create new music in this day and age, seeking instead to write "postludes" to the Romantic era, the last common language of Western music. These works feature a perpetual succession of melodies, but without any direction, while the lush tonality is undermined by Webern-like jumps of minor seconds and major sevenths. The composer's Fifth Symphony was an important culmination in this style.

The Symphony No. 6 (1994-95, rev. 2002) has sometimes been called an unimaginative retread of the Fifth, but I don't think that's fair. True, Silvestrov's stylistic concerns have not changed all that much; we continue to find a nostalgia for a common musical heritage and there's no development towards any hitherto unheard goal. In form, however, the Sixth shows Silvestrov exploring new territory. Unlike the long single-movement works of the 1980s, the composer has cast this symphony in five movements with a symmetrical shape.

The first movement opens, like all late Silvestrov, with a dissonant chord. But where Silvestrov was previously keen on launching into melodies straightaway, the music here wanders for a long time through this mist of unstable harmonies. The music is sparse, unsteady, almost as if Silvestrov were following Schnittke's turn to a grim, ghostly pace. Things find some steady ground in the second movement, but not too much. The third movement is the longest of all, making up nearly half of this 55-minute work. It opens as a lush, poignant meditation that has often been compared to the famous "Adagietto" of Mahler's Fifth, though this has its stormy movements.
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