Sunday, 10 January 2010

Nikolai Miaskovsky (1882-1950)

Fabulous Crimble pressie from the parents – Miaskovsky’s complete symphonies, on 16 CDs with several filler pieces, too (overtures, string suites, etc), making each disc at least 75 minutes long. AMAZING value! Notable symphonies so far would be two of the shortest; No.19 for brass band – the first movement recalls Candide’s sweeping melody, and the slow movement starts like the Skye boatman’s song – and No.8 in a very bumptious C major. There are many moments redolent of 20th century English string writing, and so far few dichordant or revolutionary elements. How Miaskovsky can have been denounced as formalist (in 1948, just 2 years before his death) is beyond me, though perhaps his final works did display more ‘modern’ features. That notwithstanding, the spitefulness of state censors (nor, tempting though it may be, the irrational behaviour of awkward people like me) is hardly something I should expect or particularly wish to understand.