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Valentin Silvestrov: Symphony No.5 / Postludium

Valentin Vasil'yevich Silvestrov , David Robertson , Berlin German Symphony Orchestra , Aleksei Lubimov Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Aleksei Lubimov
  • Orchestra: Berlin German Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Robertson
  • Composer: Valentin Vasil'yevich Silvestrov
  • Audio CD (May 28, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia Records/Sony
  • ASIN: B000002AXT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,422 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 5: Maestoso, pesante
2. Symphony No. 5: Moderato, leggiero
3. Symphony No. 5: Animato, leggiero, con moto
4. Symphony No. 5: Andante
5. Symphony No. 5: Piu mosso
6. Symphony No. 5: Meno mosso
7. Symphony No. 5: Leggiero
8. Symphony No. 5: Andantino
9. Symphony No. 5: Moderato
10. Postludium: Comodo
11. Postludium: Allegro vivace
12. Postludium: Dolce

Editorial Reviews

Silvestrov (b. 1937) is a Russian composer who takes a bit after Schnittke, but who nonetheless has his own voice. Silvestrov's Symphony 5 (1980-82) is a breakthrough work and a clear masterpiece. It takes discordant exclamations (or atonally structured sound clusters) and weaves them into an overall tonal skein. Silvestrov does the same in Postludium (1984), which is for piano and orchestra, and which is both lucid and disturbing. These are absolutely stunning works and should be in everyone's collection of 20th-century music. --Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime May 26, 2007
I agree with the previous reviewers. During all the years I've spent collecting Russian/Soviet symphonies, I kept hearing this name <Silvestrov>, particularly in the context of his 5th Symphony. As the Soviet Union crumbled, I found I had to make allowances for many works that flirted with 'modernity', since their new freedom obviously presented the post-Shostakovich generation of composers with the opportunity to experiment in a way not previously available, and some of the results were frankly a bit naive, certainly not very compelling. Elements of this can be found at some stage, however briefly, in the works of Schnittke, Shchedrin, Kancheli and so on.

What is it about Silvestrov's 5th, which I've had for quite a while now? It's dangerously close to being self-indulgent, a major musical wallow, and yet somehow it escapes this danger triumphantly. Like all great symphonies it takes you on a journey, and at its beatific close I know I've been on that journey, (though in all honesty I don't quite know where I've been!) Its general pace is slow, but it never tries your patience,- you listen and you wouldn't want it otherwise. The adagietto from Mahler's 5th comes to mind, also the final pages of the latter's 10th (as realised by Cooke and others). Haunting, beautiful, and, arguably, most important of all, it greatly rewards repeated listening. I'm ordering the 6th when I've completed this review, as I've heard similar great things of it. (The 2nd Symphony caused me the same reaction as it did a previous reviewer, a feeling that the composer was going through his 'Oh I can do this now!' stage. I must try again, though, as inital reactions can always change as you become more 'au fait' with a composer's style and musical language.)

Beautiful recording and performance.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silvestrov's Masterpiece August 21, 2005
I wish that I could recall who suggested this work to me, because it led me into the world of Silvestrov's music. Hopefully this recording is re-issued, allowing others to experience it also.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
After running afoul of Soviet music bureaucrats for writing bold and independent-minded music, the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov left the public eye for several years. When he returned in the late 1970s, it was with a radical new style. The modernist who had once tried to blaze a new trail forward with the latest techniques felt that music had split into too many different directions, and the area he would direct his energies would be into "postludes" on last common musical heritage, the Classical and Romantic eras. The distinctive soundworld he developed is marked by lush orchestral textures based greatly in traditional harmony, but without any development. The critic Paul Griffith's compared a Silvestrov orchestral work to a black lake, whose surface is disturbed by strokes of an oar, melodies arising in one instrument to leave "ripples" in the lines of surrounding players. Yet, this is not a complete return to the past, for here and there we find weird leaps in Webern-like intervals

The Symphony No. 5 (1980-1982) was Silvestrov's first big orchestral work in his new style. Cast in a single movement, we find layers and layers of "commentary" on the works of late great Romantic composers like Bruckner and Mahler. Lovely flute and harp lines that contemplatively go on and on are interrupted by sudden bangs on percussion and brass, and then replaced with new melodies. The only problem is the length. While the music is beautiful, it doesn't seem like it can be sustained at 47 minutes. One's attention begins to wander not much past halfway in.

But luckily the disc includes the shorter orchestral work "Postludium" (1984). It is essentially the same sort of attempt as the Symphony, but with a notable piano part.
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