STRAVINSKY Four Norwegian Moods
USTVOLSKAYA Symphony No 2
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No 1
Oliver Zeffman conductor
Arshak Kuzikyan reciter
The two symphonies make for an interesting pairing, both thematically and musically. Galina Ustvolskaya was a pupil of Shostakovich, about whom he wrote ‘I am convinced that the music of G. I. Ustvolskaya will achieve worldwide renown, to be valued by all who perceive truth in music to be of paramount importance.’ It is likely that they were lovers and, indeed, Ustvolskaya rejected a marriage proposal from her former teacher. Scored for an unusual combination of instruments – a solo reciter, six flutes, six oboes, six trumpets, trombone, tuba, piano and percussion – Ustvolskaya’s Second Symphony (subtitled ‘True and Eternal Bliss’) is a visceral and emotionally overwhelming work and makes for an apt contrast with the playful humour and lighter tone of Shostakovich’s first symphony.
The Melos Sinfonia is an energetic orchestra based in London which, through ambitious programming and enterprising projects, provides talented young musicians with the invaluable performing experience and exposure necessary to establish a successful career in the arts. Players are drawn from current students and recent graduates of the major conservatoires and universities across the UK, as well as from orchestras such as the European Union Youth Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Britten-Pears Orchestra and the Southbank Sinfonia.