Sunday, June 22, 2008

What I am Listening to Today

Andrei Eshpai (1925-)

Concerto Grosso
Piano Concerto # 2
Symphony # 7

Composer as piano solo, Svetlanov USSR State SO
Albany TROY341

I am simply at a loss of words to describe this music. From the Mari region of Russia, Eshpai's works combine Schnittke, Prokofiev and Bartok with a little Shchedrin at his most manic. Added to this stew is a bit of symphonic jazz a la Mancini's "Peter Gunn", (the Concerto Grosso's concertante group consists of trumpet, vibraphone, piano and double bass) seasoned with Russian/Mari folk tunes and modes. He also appears to be an accomplished pianist, as he is the solo in his formidable concerto.

The Symphony # 7 seems to have more echoes of Shostakovich and is more somber in mood, at least as far as the first movement goes, it is still playing as I write.

Born in 1925, Eshpai has written a large number of works including 9 symphonies, 4 violin concerti, 2 piano concerti, operas and the required Soviet occasion pieces praising Lenin and the Revolution. He studied with Myaskovski and Khachaturian at the Moscow Conservatory.

What fun and totally fascinating and listenable.

Get it at CDUniverse, HBDirect, ArkivMusic.. or where ever you like!

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