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Title: Symphonies of the Century - Friedrich Lips plays Vladislav Solotarjov (Zolatariev)

Friedrich Lips

Supplied by:
Review date: 01 October 2004

Concert Symphony No. 1
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio spirito. Pastorale, alcuna licenza
3. Alla cadenza
4. Allegro scherzoso

Concert Symphony No. 2
1. Prologue - Adagio sostenuto
2. Variations - Lugubre
3. Metamorphoses - Intermezzo sinfonico
4. Epilogue

 Concert Symphony No. 1 (1972, essentially enlarged and revised version of the first concert for bayan from 1965) was recorded by Friedrich Lips, bayan, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music, Oleg Agarkov, conductor, at the first performance at the Concert Hall of the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music, in Moscow on November 1st, 1977. The duration is 32:13 minutes.

Quoting from the CD jacket: "It no longer depicts a competition in concerto form between soloist and orchestra, it is a truly symphonic picture with orchestral development, the bayan playing enormously important solos. This symphony in four movements is pretty well marked by the composer's romantic view of life. Episodes of spiritualization logically blend into the music which represents power, manliness and optimism of the youth. In addition, we should also emphasize the splendid tone colours of the score. Manifold orchestral colours that complete the bayan score show that the composer has detailed knowledge of how to make use of an orchestra, a fact that is backed up his highly professional instrumentation."

The bayan has an artist in the person of Friedrich Lips who has made worldwide impressions not only through his personal performances but, also, through his innumerable contributions to the serious repertoire of the instrument. Composers only
write successfully for instruments when they can identify and sympathize with both that instrument and the performers on them. Lips has made this possible; the very most capable and famous composers know that he will not only give world-wide performances of their music but, in addition, will show them both idiom and idiosyncrasies of the instrument. He has raised the standards for performers and composers, providing new imagination, inspiration and vision for the future development of the repertoire. His personal friendship with Vladislav Solotarjov (Zolotariew) has proven fortuitous for the accordion in numerous ways and accordion history is the beneficiary.

Concert Symphony No. 2 was recorded by Friedrich Lips, bayan, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music, Timur Mynbajev, conductor, in the Concert Hall of the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow on December 13th, 2002. The duration is 33:08 minutes.

Quoting from the CD jacket: "This represents the greatest tragedy in the oeuvre of Vl. Solotarjov. The idea of death as a person's ultimate experience is shown in the centre of this fresco in four movements. The first two movements contain large, meditative sections written in twelve-tone music system - a composition technique using 12 non-recurring sounds, first applied by the Austrian composer A. Schonberg. In the third movement a certain tension is built up that finally explodes in the part of "Bacchanalia', carrying off everything in its way. The disastrous theme for trombones of A. Bruckner's Eighth Symphony rings out. The sudden, lonesome, human voice (soprano) is drowned in total chaos. Finally, at this point of culmination, all musicians begin to stamp their feet, roar with laughter, whistle and scream, "Morte! Morte! (Death! Death!). And on top of all that - the sound of glass breaking…. The symphony ends in a very short, fourth movement, the epilogue, downward glissandi of the strings completing the picture: the universe vanishes into nothingness… The symphony is dedicated to the conductor Gennady Roshdjestvensky."

The experience of listening to this performance is an extremely profound one! I can only imagine how the audience must have felt at the completion of a live performance but it must have been both overwhelming and fraught with unequivocal appreciation for the impeccable genius unleashed both by composer and highly skilled performers.

Friedrich Lips, as always, has once again brought music of the highest quality to the world. This is music with deep emotional significance; it requires not one but many hearings before any semblance of true understanding and, perhaps even, appreciation is possible. This is especially true if the listener is not a veteran of such sophisticated and abstruse music. It should be in every music lover's library; every accordionist should buy one for himself and one for the most highly respected conductor and library in his locale. It is that important to our history! The CD is quite aptly named: Symphonies of The Century.

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